Andrew Whitters '04 Headshot

Andrew Whitters '04


Beating the Odds

Students attending Mount Mercy University are assured the highest quality education that prepares them to be among the best in their field. Andrew Whitters ‘04, ARNP, DNP, gained this great education and learned an even more important lesson—he unveiled what he was really capable of.

While a student at Mount Mercy, Whitters received a life-threatening diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease (from which he has been in remission since 2005). For many, this would have led to missed classes, or even missed semesters. Instead, Whitters discovered power of support from faculty, family and friends, and persevered through long months of treatment to succeed against all odds.

Andrew-Whitters-Web.jpg“I remember talking with one of my professors,” Whitters said. “I told him I didn’t want to leave… and be stuck sitting around thinking about cancer every day. He said ‘If you stay, I’ve got your back’ and other professors kind of came out of the woodwork to say ‘Hey, we support you.’ so I decided to stay.”

Whitters used his education and the drive he developed through his trials to first receive a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, then his RN certification. His master’s degree from the University of Iowa followed. He then earned his clinical doctorate and used this degree to work in the University of Iowa in the pediatric and neo-natal intensive care units.

During his time at the UIHC he a passion and a knack for assisting with surgery. As he studied for his nurse practitioner degree and certification, he worked extensively in the cardiac unit. After a stint in private practice, he was recruited to work for California-based medical technology firm Endologix.

He now demonstrates a new technology, made by Endologix, used to repair abdominal aneurisms in hospitals all over the country, equipping vascular surgeons to save the lives of their patients.

"I remember talking with one of my professors. I told him I didn't want to leave..."

He enjoys teaching new concepts and new surgical techniques, knowing that this technology will save the lives of countless people all over the world. Whitters also finds that he learns from the doctors he teaches as well. Their knowledge helps him to be a better teacher and gives him the tools to flourish in his career.

While at Mount Mercy, Whitters said the people he surrounded himself with helped him keep his spirits up. That long list of supports included his girlfriend who he ended up marrying. The couple now have two children – a miracle in its own right given the potentially devastating effect of cancer treatment to the reproductive system.

Whitters said his battle with cancer showed him he was capable of achieving anything he set his mind to, especially if you have a great community surrounding you.

“Even when things are hard in your life, academically or meeting other people’s expectations, you can’t be afraid of it,” Whitters said. “I think I developed my drive, undoubtable, at Mount Mercy—it became deeper while I was there.”

Even when things are hard in your life, academically or meeting other people’s expectations, you can’t be afraid of it.

Andrew Whitters '04

Whitters has proven that passion, drive and the lessons he learned from his time at Mount Mercy are the key to success in any field.  His attitude and the support that he received during his time here gave him the foundation to build a fulfilling career that allows him to help others.

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