CNCC Craig campus hires new nursing program faculty


At a glance

• Colorado Northwestern Community College hired three new faculty members for its nursing program at the Craig campus.

• Kathy Horn and Brenda Koenig-Renz will serve as part-time adjunct instructors teaching the college's clinical experience sessions.

• Charlene Opper, the program's newest full-time instructor, will teach a fundamental course to first-year nursing students.

Local nursing students will see new faces this year.

The Colorado Northwestern Community College has hired three replacement faculty members for its nursing program, two of whom will be working part time with students in area hospitals.

All three candidates have either earned or are working toward their Master of Science degree in nursing, Marilyn Hehr, CNCC nursing program director, said.

"Because we're seeking accreditation this year, we need to encourage the master's of science in nursing," she said.

"Very few people have their MSN," Hehr said. "It's very distinguished."

Kathy Horn, who hails from Nebraska, will work as a part-time adjunct in The Memorial Hospital in Craig. Routt County resident Brenda Koenig-Renz, another new adjunct, will work with nursing students at Steamboat Springs health care facilities Yampa Valley Medical Center and Doak Walker Care Center.

Horn currently is earning her MSN, Hehr said.

Horn is a Registered Nurse who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Midland Lutheran College, a Nebraska institution, in 1992. She has worked in the nursing field for 16 years, she said.

This fall, she will try her hand at teaching for the first time.

Horn's job will encompass teaching students the fundamental skills nurses will need in the field, which include how to make a bed and giving patients bed baths, she said.

"It's just all the basic orientation into nursing," she said.

Horn said she's excited about making the move to Colorado.

"It will be interesting to change states and change climates," she said.

Becoming an adjunct instructor for CNCC will be one of several changes for Koenig-Renz.

"I have a lot of changes in my life right now, but they're all good," she said, adding that she recently moved to Yampa Valley from Arvada.

Koenig-Renz, who has her Master of Science in nursing, has been a nurse practitioner since 1989.

Koenig-Renz isn't new to teaching. At Denver-based Regis University, she served as an adjunct faculty member for two years, she said.

The third addition to the nursing program's staff this year may be a familiar face to some students. Steamboat Springs resident Charlene Opper, the nursing program's newest full-time faculty member, rounds out the department's new hires this fall.

Opper was a CNCC clinical instructor last year at TMH and Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab.

This year, Opper will be teaching a fundamental nursing course to first-year nursing students and an "extenstive" laboratory course that students must complete before they can enter training in the hospital settings, she said.

Opper also has taught a Certified Nurses Aid program in various health care facilities in Yampa Valley.

Opper has worked in the nursing field since 1978. Her experience in rural Colorado includes working in long-term care centers and with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association's home health and hospice program.

Opper also served for 10 years as a post-anesthesia nurse, she said.

Like Horn, Opper said she's looking forward to starting her new job.

"This is something I've always wanted to do," she said.

Opper earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Pheonix, an online program.

"As soon as I got my bachelor's degree, I called (Hehr and) said I was ready," she said.


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