Liane Nye specializes in pediatric cardiology. She cares for infants and children as they leave open-heart surgery, stabilizing their breathing, blood pressure, heart and kidney function. “Sometimes there are more wires and monitors on a baby than there is baby,” she says. In Sacred Heart Medical Center’s pediatric intensive care unit, Nye helps shaky parents through those first days and nights.

Canadian by birth, Nye is an accomplished professional. In 2007, she earned the Sacred Heart Award of Nursing Excellence. But she noticed a restlessness. She wanted more; friends and colleagues encouraged her to seek more. She wanted, in a word, to incorporate magis into her life.

She enrolled in Gonzaga’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program, one of four GU graduate nursing programs. Gonzaga’s graduate nursing students take their classes on-line. This allows early- or mid-career students to remain at work in their home towns – San Diego to Montana. On-line discussion boards allow for the give-and-take and critical thinking fostered in on-campus classes. Twice each semester, the nurse practitioner students come to campus for teaching, mentoring and exams.

Nye graduated in August. Her career now evolves from delivering care to planning care, from following a doctor’s orders to practicing in collaboration with doctors. Her new practice rests on a foundation of relationships with her young patients, their families – and even the Spokane community.

For a community health class, Nye researched and prepared a proposal on helmet use for Mount Spokane Ski Area. “One of my biggest pet peeves,” she says, “is seeing young patients come into the emergency room with head trauma that could have been prevented by a $100 piece of equipment.”

At Gonzaga, Nye learned to bring the Jesuit commitments of magis, social justice and cura personalis into her professional life.

“There have been so many learning experiences: those related to pathophysiology – the study of how disease changes body function – and pharmacology. However, I think the one tremendous insight I have learned is that I have the honor of being part of a patient’s journey. I was present when a 72-year-old mother was told she was dying of metastatic liver cancer, after a previous bout of breast cancer. She and her daughter absorbed the news. Although they were not the least bit surprised, they did get teary and hugged.

“Then they turned to their nurse practitioner and discussed hospice and home care options. What struck me was the intimacy of the situation. As nurse practitioners,” Nye said, “we are not only providing care, but we also care about our patients.”

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