Creating a Sanctified Nurse

Catherine Burger, MSOL, RN, NEA-BC | Updated/Verified: May 17, 2024

Michael Tijerina is the Regional Sepsis Program Manager for all 21 Northern California medical centers for Kaiser Foundation Hospital. As part of his role, Mr. Tijerina is responsible for all sepsis-related processes and projects such as daily operations, performance initiatives, innovations and improvement projects.

Q: Why did you choose Biola University?

One of the main reasons I chose Biola was to avoid the long waitlists and lottery selection of the public-school nursing programs in my area. A friend of mine had attended Biola and highly recommended the school. When I realized I could start my nursing career sooner than the other programs it seemed like the right choice for me.

Q: Was the cost of the program a consideration for you at the time?

Honesty, I didn't even consider how much programs would cost, I just knew that I didn't want to wait to start my career. I had earned an academic scholarship, but the university made the student loan process very easy. In hindsight, it was the best decision I've ever made, even with the debt from the student loans!

Q: What years did you attend Biola and what degree did you earn?

I started at Biola university in 1998 and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) with a minor in Bible in 2002.

Q: Was the school associated with the church or faith of your youth?

No, I was actually a new Christian when I began Biola.

Q: Did you live on campus in the dormitory?

No, I was in my late 20's and already married when I started at Biola, so we were granted an exception to live off campus. I had friends who lived in the dormitories and they, like all Biola students, were expected to live by the strict ethical code of conduct both on and off campus. This was not just a lifestyle expectation, we actually signed a contract that we would adhere to the standards of the university and model respectable behaviors.

Q: Did you find the conservative environment challenging?

As a brand-new Christian, it took me a while to change some of my ways. In fact, I recall many cuss words falling from my mouth while playing a friendly game of pool in the student union, much to the shock and dismay of the students around me. Once I began to live God's purpose for my life and was sanctified, I began to fit in. My friends who grew up in the church and I used to refer to this environment as the "Biola Bubble." But I came to love this structure and the fellowship with others who desired to live a Christ-centered life.

Q: What religious courses or activities were expected of you?

Students were expected to complete a course of faith-based studies each semester. Since I had completed an associate degree prior to starting at Biola, I had to make up for the lost classes, so I actually took two bible-related courses for many terms. The programs are designed so that all students, regardless of their major, earn a minor in Bible. This was especially important in nursing to be able to continue into the mission field of healthcare. In addition to the religious humanities courses, all students are expected to attend several hours of chapel each week. In fact, you could not register for the next term unless you had met all of the required hours for chapel.

RELATED: Life as a Faith-Based Nursing Student

Q: How was your overall nursing school environment? Were the instructors all of similar faith?

The tenured professors and those who taught theory courses were Christians and were required to have a profession of faith in order to teach at the university. I fondly recall how, during a microbiology class, the professor stopped his lecture to openly wonder in awe on how great God is to have created the human body.

Class usually began with prayer or worship which I found to be very grounding for the nursing profession. The clinical instructors were also Christians but, due to the nature of the clinical environment, we didn't necessarily have religion as a focus. We were taught how to share our faith without offending the patients or families in our care.

Q: After such a focused Christian school environment, did you feel prepared for the secular working environment?

Biola University's nursing program is excellent. We became skilled clinicians to care for not only the body of our patients but their soul as well. I felt very prepared for entering the secular working environment after completing their nursing program.

Q: Would you recommend a faith-based college experience for others?

Absolutely! I can say attending Biola University altered the path of my career and my life for the better.