Nursing her Career Dr. Lena Rippstein

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Dr. Lena Rippstein is a woman who loves her workDr. Lena Rippstein is a woman who loves her work—and there is a lot of it. She is an assistant professor and director of nursing at Schreiner, and she designed and implemented the University’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. You might think that with all that she would just go home in the evening and put her feet up with her husband and their dachshund Woofgang (a rescue from Freeman-Fritts in Kerrville) and Meika (a German Shepherd from Germany). Well, not exactly.

As a board-certified advanced practice RN and a gerontological nurse practitioner, Rippstein makes house calls and does nursing home rounds in Kerrville and San Antonio on weekends and evenings because, she said, “you need to keep up your skills.” She is a sub-investigator for Texas Medical Research Association clinical trials, is on the board of trustees for Hill Country CARES and volunteers with the Christian Women’s Job Corps.

Rippstein received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and her post-master’s certification as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner along with her doctorate in nursing with a focus in geriatrics from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Recently, she has been asked to speak to Ph.D. nursing students at UTMB.

In the last 12 months, Rippstein has traveled to Florida, Washington D.C. and Europe. She has also given multiple professional presentations in Texas and Mexico and said she averages somewhere between five and 10 presentations a year.

“I love to travel,” Rippstein said. And that’s a good thing, because she also added, “This is one of my slower years; sometimes I travel even more.”

And she isn’t sitting back on her Schreiner laurels now that the first BSN classes started this fall. She is planning to establish a chapter of the Texas Student Nursing Association here, as well as chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honor society.
Rippstein is also very interested in community outreach and involvement.

“When we received approval from the Board of Nursing,” she said, “we were given a commendation for the Schreiner nursing program’s work with the community. We set up advisory committees designed to address community needs and nursing education and practice in the Kerrville area.”

She and Dr. Kyle Busing recently completed a pilot study of the effects of a community-based exercise program on older adults that was extensively covered by the local newspaper. They presented the results of the study as part of Schreiner’s Chautauqua series in September.
“After 50, what you do for yourself radically impacts the aging process,” Rippstein said. “Exercise and good nutrition can make a big difference.

“I love my job at Schreiner,” she said. “I don’t think it dawned on me until I was already here what an honor it is to develop a nursing program. How many people get to do that?”