One word that describes Katie Sorensen is dedicated.
She excels as a nursing student while also pursuing a minor in psychology. She works two jobs, maintains family relationships, and commutes from Waconia.
Yet her story about why she picked the nursing field and her journey to Crown is one that stands out, especially in terms of its impact upon her faith.
From a young age, Sorensen wanted to help people who were sick, even turning her playroom into a play hospital. When playing make-believe, Sorensen and her younger sister would cure imaginary illnesses.
This drive to help the sick and needy stuck with her even as she now faces new challenges.
Sorensen Finds Her Calling
In the eighth grade, Sorensen wanted to become a lawyer — but that didn’t last long.
“I’m very non-confrontational and would make a terrible lawyer,” Sorensen jokes. “I worked as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) in high school, and that’s when it was really confirmed for me that nursing is what I wanted to do.”
She says her high school friend inspired her to look for a CNA job. Although none of her family members are nurses, her friends encouraged her to pursue her dream of helping people in need.
For Sorensen, deciding to attend Crown College wasn’t a tough decision. She already had friends and connections with the professors because she had done PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) through Crown during her senior year of high school.
“By the springtime I just really liked the community here,” she says. “I liked the professors, and I liked that I could still stay at home in Waconia.”
Commuting was especially important to Sorensen. Her sister, Michelle, is battling several medical issues, including Classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disease which affects her connective tissue.
Even when someone so close to Sorensen is struggling so much, she keeps her chin up. She uses those difficult seasons of life to find wisdom and hope from God. Everyday, Sorensen faces the reality that there are people in need — and instead of giving up, she puts on her shoes, goes to school, and pushes forward.
Sorensen is happy Crown is nearby so she can help out her family whenever she can.
She makes sure her sister is being taken care of and loved, feeds her two dogs, and gives moral support to her parents. Sorensen’s sister Michelle has inspired her to keep a serving and caring outlook on life. Someday, she hopes to help others dealing with similar health concerns.
Sorensen feels right at home as Crown professors demonstrate compassionate care. She has witnessed her professors go above and beyond.
“I think the nursing professors here really care about our learning, which is something you don’t expect at every school,” she says. “They’re willing to come in on the weekends to help us out when we’ve got a big exam coming up, or to open up the lab as a place to study.”
Prof. Denise Pederson has been a huge supporter for Sorensen.
“I’m very close with Prof. Pederson. She’s very attentive to our lives outside of class and really makes an effort to get to know us beyond our academic performance,” she says.
Crown Nursing program
Sorensen says one of the distinctives of the Crown Nursing program is how the education is tied closely to Christian faith and worldview — that we are called to meet the needs of the hurting and broken.
“Nursing is such a valuable mission field and a lot of people take that for granted. You don’t come to the hospital for something minor,” says Sorensen. “You get to walk with those patients and families, probably through one of the worst times of their lives. You’re able to be the hands and feet of Jesus in those moments. You have to realize that every action you do for that person can be an act of service if you’re doing it with the right mentality.”
In addition to caring for her sister and attending classes, Sorensen spends her time working two challenging jobs. One is at the Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, just a few miles from Crown. Her other job is at New Perspective Senior Living, also in Waconia.
However, this intense work will not deter her from remembering the end result.
“It’s looking at the long term and saying that it’s a sacrifice now, for sure. It is a lot of time taken away from friends and family, but in the end it’ll be worth it,” she says.
The silver lining for all of her hard work is knowing she is working toward a degree that will be fulfilling and rewarding once she starts her career.
“The patients are not always going to be appreciative, but you really just have to be able to separate yourself from that situation,” says Sorensen. “Life is about facing moments of difficulty and frustration, and still choosing to show compassion. It’s showing those acts of kindness that sets you apart from other people.”
After more hands-on experience, Sorensen wants to either become a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist. Ultimately, she wants to go into pediatric oncology, working with youth diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders.
In this difficult line of work, Sorensen feels strongly about serving the people around her.
As usual, Sorensen is keeping in mind the phrase, “short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards.”
“Because it’s such a hard place to be, you can really invest in relationships with those kids and their families,” she says.
Prof. Pederson (like everyone else who knows her) is looking forward to Sorensen’s bright future.
“Katie has shown to be resilient through life challenges and nursing school,” says Pederson. “She continues to show commitment to succeed throughout her time at Crown.”