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Nursing Graduate Student Demands Flexibility and Neumann Delivers

Marianna Holmes
Marianna Holmes

Marianna Holmes is one busy woman. As nurse manager of the Out-Patient Chemotherapy Departments for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, she manages 80 nurses and 12 medical assistants at six locations throughout the region.


She trains, assigns and evaluates all staff members; handles budgeting and ordering medical supplies; manages all clinical issues and patient satisfaction; and is responsible for standardizing all care through policies and procedures. She also has two sons: Brett, 15, and Dylan, 10.




It’s not surprising, then, that her search for a graduate degree led her to Neumann’s M.S. Nurse Educator program. “It worked for me,” says Holmes, who will graduate in December 2015. “I started six years ago, and there was never any pressure. I could proceed at my own pace.”


In fact, Holmes describes the program as “very flexible and good for me because the courses were offered at night and online. Because of the course schedule, I was able to keep working full-time.”


Besides the flexibility of Neumann’s schedule, Holmes gushes about the faculty. “Mary Powell [director of graduate nursing programs] and Wendy Ostendorf [professor of nursing] are both down to earth,” she smiles. “They both get it, and they’ve always been willing to work with me so that I could succeed in the program.”

She chose the Nurse Educator degree program because it presents “the best of both worlds” for her. “I can continue to work and teach when opportunities come along. It also opens new fields to me, like the pharmaceutical industry, which hires lots of nurse educators.”


With 26 years of nursing experience in oncology (at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Penn), Holmes has a wealth of knowledge to share with nursing students and a strong desire to teach. “In oncology, you see good and bad outcomes,” she admits, “but there are better outcomes now than ever before. Because of new drugs, we have made great strides in treating cancer.”


Neumann University has re-launched its M.S. Nurse Educator program and is accepting applications to begin study in the spring of 2016. For more information, call 610-361-5208 or email


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