Katie Baraki, RN, MS is our new Visiting Assistant Professor of Nursing and Community Health. She previously worked as an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Utah, where she received fellowships and awards for excellence in teaching, nursing leadership, and transforming clinical instruction. Most recently, she served as a clinical nurse consultant at ANTHC creating and coordinating the ANMC New Nurse Residency Program, developing other educational programs, mentoring nursing staff, and assessing clinical procedures and facilities. Katie specializes in curriculum development and in teaching nursing. She was instrumental in the development of the AK Bridge RN-to-BSN program last year, and she is now leading the team that is developing the associate’s degree in nursing as well as programs in community health.
What are you teaching at APU and what does that entail?
At APU I will be teaching in the RN to BSN program. I am officially assigned to teach the NUR 31000 Evidence-Based Practice course, which focuses on helping practicing registered nurses develop the skills and critical thinking strategies needed to integrate evidence-based practice principles into their professional work. I will also be co-teaching the NUR 30000 Professional Nursing Course and NUR 30500 Nursing Ethics courses. I anticipate a fun semester – for students too!
What did you do prior to APU?
Before I came to APU I coordinated new nurse residency programs at the Alaska Native Medical Center (more recently) and the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. Prior to working with new nurse residents, I taught at the University of Utah in their baccalaureate and graduate degree nursing programs for 10 years. I have worked as a nurse in Surgical Intensive Care, Neurological Critical Care, medical-surgical, neuro-orthopedic, inpatient psychiatric, and oncology.
What are your goals for this school year?
The Nursing Program area in the Institute of Health and Wellness is developing a new Associate Degree Nursing Program and courses for the RN-BSN Program – and my goal is to develop a knock-it-out-of-the-park curriculum and courses that will spark student curiosity and passion for culturally safe, relationship-centered, quality nursing care.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I went to Salt Lake Community College for my Associate’s degree and studied, well, a little bit of everything. What I like to tell people is that I took the scenic route to nursing. I went to the University of Utah for my undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees. My Master’s degree is in Nursing Education which affords me so many opportunities to help the world be a little bit better each day.
What is your fondest memory from when you were in school?
As an undergraduate nursing student, I had the opportunity to provide nursing care and health care education in a small rural Navajo community in Rock Point, Arizona. There are too many experiences to share using this forum, but suffice it to say I came out of the experience fundamentally different – it impacted me to my core. If you have a free afternoon and coffee, feel free to ask me about it.
When you were a college student, who was the most influential person in your life?
Hands down, Dr. Alexa Doig. As an undergraduate student, I idolized her, so much so that I could barely get out an intelligible sentence in her presence. As a graduate student, she was my mentor and shaped my professional growth with grace and provoking discussions and experiences. As a new faculty member, she took me under her wing and never held back with her support and advice. I proudly now call her friend and I am honored to continue to be shaped by her wisdom and example.
What do you do in your free time?
Lately, I’ve been spending lots of time shaping my 7-month old German Shepherd (Luna) and 2-month old Blue Heeler (Lily) into happy dogs that are fun to be around. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Any way that you choose to frame it, so far it seems to be working. For instance, it’s harder to chew shoes if they’re put away in the closet. You get the picture.
I adore trees, mountains, lakes, the ocean, fishing and non-life threatening encounters with animals. It would be difficult for me to survive without books and stories. The latest book I read is Rising Strong by Brene Brown, and I’m in the middle of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. Both good reads that make you think about how we are all connected and searching for belonging.
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Five years ago what I hoped but thought would never happen, happened – I reconnected with my son that I placed for adoption when I was seventeen. There are no words for the avalanche of joy. He is an extraordinary human being and I am blessed to have him in my life.
What are you most excited about for this job?
First – the people. The APU community is full of exceptional people – and I can’t wait to get to know all of them. And second – I get the opportunity to help create a curriculum and teach in the nursing program with exceptional people that I genuinely like and respect. I really am living my dream and am excited to see what happens next!