Success: Susan O’Conner-Von

Become a nurse, see the world? For Mount Mercy University graduate Susan O’Conner-Von, the answer was, “Indeed!”

“One of our Mount Mercy nursing faculty shared with our class that nursing is a ticket to travel,” O’Conner-Von said. “I took this seriously! I have worked in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Harlan, Kentucky, to Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. I have also worked at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City; Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota; Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; and am still employed as a staff nurse at Children’s Hospital in Saint Paul, working one evening shift per week.”

Susan O’Conner-Von ’76
Associate Professor, School of Nursing / Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Spiritualty and Healing
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Nursing is what drew O’Conner-Von to Mount Mercy in the first place, because of the school’s great reputation of the nursing program and strong focus on liberal arts.

“From an early age I witnessed the holistic care and compassion of Mercy nurses who cared for my family and friends,” she said. “I knew the nursing program provided solid clinical preparation and exposure to a variety of health care settings and populations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the liberal arts and found those courses helped me become a more well-rounded nurse.”

O’Conner-Von said the superb nursing faculty was instrumental in her success while attending, not only because of their academic and teaching skills, but also because of their high expectations that their students become ethical leaders and to provide excellence in health care.

She has lived up to those expectations, not only in her impressive resume, but also in the awards she has been granted showing the excellence and virtue which imbues her work, volunteerism, and interests. Awards include Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse of the Year, Innovator’s Award: Excellence in Nursing Education, The Daisy Faculty Award for Exceptional Mentorship, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Mount Mercy.

“I have been blessed to have a solid academic foundation that gave me the skills and courage to succeed in every position that I have held since graduating from Mount Mercy.”

Main sources of pride for O’Conner-Von come through seeing nursing students provide excellent care for patients and families, Doctor of Nursing Practice students improve quality of care processes in their work setting, and advising PhD in Nursing students as they advance the science of nursing. Her own achievements she attributes to characteristics she inherited from her mother: hard work, humility, compassion, and a sense of humor.

She has similarly holistic advice for students and prospective students of Mount Mercy: “Seek out faculty for advice and mentorship. Find a hobby that will fill your soul, give you peace, and contribute to your wellbeing. Study hard and enjoy the journey.”

Be a Mustang. Success Follows.