Baylor Online Student Spotlight: Karen Stanzo

Baylor Online Student Spotlight: Karen Stanzo
Baylor Online Student Spotlight: Karen Stanzo

Karen Stanzo completed her MSN in Leadership and Innovation from Baylor’s LHSON. She talks to us about the impact Baylor made in her career and how the Baylor experience enriched her life. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation:

Q: As a professional, what does it mean to be a graduate of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (and your specific program)?

A: I believe my degree is well-regarded by members of the healthcare community as standing for high quality with a mission-focus.

Q: How did Baylor University support you and properly prepare you to earn your online degree?

A: I was very impressed by the quality of the in-person orientation. I was initially nervous about whether I had the computer skills to be successful in an online program. However, at orientation, we had instructors who guided us on how to use the platform on our personal laptops to ensure that we were comfortable with viewing the platform and submitting assignments. I left feeling confident and knowing about available resources if I had any difficulties.

Q: The Louise Herrington School of Nursing’s motto is “Learn. Lead. Serve.” – what does that mean to you?

A: This phrase means to me that students are expected to take what they learn at Baylor and become servant leaders in the community, regardless of their practice setting.

Q: How did the online MSN Leadership & Innovation program prepare you for growing your career?

A: The program allowed me to learn the evidence-base for many practices I encounter as a leader. In this way, I have been able to contribute more fully and grow as a leader.

Q: Why did you choose Baylor’s MSN Leadership & Innovation over another university and/or a Nursing Administration MSN?

A: What appealed to me the most was the small size of the program. Other programs I looked into had hundreds of students. I really appreciated the intimate learning environment that Baylor provided.

Q: What are some specific ways the program focused on the leadership aspect? How were/are you able to apply it?

A: In most assignments, we were challenged to think as leaders and not just clinicians. I especially had to examine not how I place evidence into practice as an individual contributor, but how do I inspire others to evidence-based practice. We also had to develop written descriptions of our own leadership styles and spent time outlining a career development plan.

Q: What are some specific ways the program focused on innovation? How were/are you able to apply it?

A: I believe the program focused on innovation in every course. From Quality to Missions to Finance, we were challenged to think not just about what has been done but would be done in a rapidly changing healthcare system to provide the highest quality, most cost-effective care while also inspiring our teammates to their best performance.

Q: What has the professional environment/healthcare industry come to expect from a Baylor University nurse?

A: I believe that the industry regards Baylor nurses as being well-prepared clinicians with strong critical thinking abilities.

Q: Based on your experience, what advice do you have for potential students interested or considering enrollment in the MSN Leadership & online program?

A: I would encourage them to start as soon as possible. While it does take some realignment of professional and personal responsibilities, it is very doable.

Q: The LHSON Nursing programs are known for integrating faith and excellent academics. How important was this to you and how did/do you leverage the faith-based academic program your careers?

A: While I respect the faith-based aspect of the program, this was not part of my reason for choosing Baylor.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the top 3 reasons prospects should attend the LHSON in the MSN Leadership & innovation program?


  • A program that is academically rigorous, but not ruthless.
  • Ability to complete the program online while still working full-time.
  • An amazing community of learners and instructors.

Q: What, in your opinion, makes a Baylor nurse unique?

A: I have found Baylor nurses to be well-rounded. They aren’t just great nurses. They have spent time developing as good people, as well.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience within the program or its impact on you as a person and professional?

A: I believe that my trip with faculty and another student to support a nursing school in Vietnam was the highlight of my experience at Baylor and helped to solidify my connection to the school. I learned so much and made great friends. I would encourage all students to participate in one of Baylor’s mission trips.