Lauren Brandner

Balancing nursing degree and cross-country

Ever since Lauren Brandner saw the births of her two younger siblings, she’s wanted to be a midwife.  As a sophomore, she’s now working toward that goal as she heads into LaGrange College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“The doctor who delivered my brother and sister was phenomenal, and she knew how interested as I was when I watched my brother be born,” Lauren says. “So when my sister came along, the doctor let me put on scrubs with her and ask all the questions I wanted to. That was the turning point for me.”

Midwives are specialists in childbirth, postpartum and well-woman health care. They are educated to train and recognize the variations of the normal progression of labor and deal with deviations from the normal to discern and intervene in high-risk situations. In some cases, midwives work alongside obstetricians, while in others, only a midwife is present during delivery.

“Midwives spend a lot of time with mothers; they get to help you become a better parent,” Lauren says. “They’re there not just before and after the birth of your baby, but they’re there to support you for however long you want them to be in your life. You can reference them for anything. If your child is sick, you can call them in the middle of the night.

“It’s like having a support team. A midwife is good especially for someone who doesn’t have a mom they can go to and say, ‘How do I do this?’ or ‘My baby’s acting this way. What does that mean?’”

Lauren was drawn to LaGrange College after graduating from The Heritage School in Newnan in large part because it was close to home, and her guidance counselor told her how every LaGrange College nursing graduate from 2009 to 2012 had passed the National Council License Examination, or NCLEX, o n the first try, a feat almost unheard of at other colleges and universities with Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs.

Lauren is complementing her nursing major with a minor in psychology. Most nursing majors do not choose a minor because of the rigor of earning the BSN degree, but one of her psychology professors encouraged her, saying she was only two classes short of earning the designation.

“There’s the emotional side of being a midwife in addition to the medical side,” Lauren says. “It’s important to be able to relate to people in this profession, and I think the psychology minor will be an asset for me. I may not be able to say to a patient, ‘I know what you’re going through, but I do know about it on a deep level and will do whatever I can to help you through it.’”

Lauren balances her academic work by running cross-county at LaGrange College. In high school, she was on the swimming, cross-country, track and soccer teams. She also was a cheerleader for two years.

“I’ve talked with nursing students, and most of them don’t do a lot of extra-curricular activities because their classes require so much studying. But I love doing cross-country. It’s a great outlet for me socially and emotionally. Cross-country works best with majors who have to be intensely involved with schoolwork because it doesn’t interfere with your schedule quite as much. Even if you can’t come to practices when they’re scheduled, usually you can work around that.”

Her days often start by running at 6:30 a.m. She has found that her coach makes other time available for his student-athletes.

“Last year I was commuting from Newnan and couldn’t make the 6:30 practices because it was an hour away,” she says.

“So I would come run in the afternoons, and he would be there still. There was a huge support system that enabled me to continue running in college.”

She’s also found her professors at LaGrange College to be supportive.

“You really get to know your professors here,” she says. “You email your teachers, and they know who you are. They recognize your face when you walk into the classroom. It’s nice coming here because I can walk into any teacher’s classroom without an appointment and say, ‘I’m having a problem with this. Can you help me?

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.