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Bridgett Campbell Tsepas always knew she wanted to work in pediatrics. While nursing
is her career, for Bridgett, it is a calling.
After graduating from King in 2006 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Tsepas
went to work for Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, N.C., and has spent the last
6 ½ years serving as a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse.
King’s School of Nursing is a high caliber program with a holistic philosophy that
promotes caring relationships and critical thinking. What students find at King’s
School of Nursing is an approach that works. Most of the University’s nursing graduates
are recruited for key positions before they graduate, many receiving offers from their
“As a graduate nurse of King University Bridgett Campbell Tsepas exemplifies the values
of professional nursing in her daily practice at Duke University Medical Center Children’s
Hospital,” said Dr. Johanne Quinn, dean and professor of King’s School of Nursing.
“She works collaboratively with physicians and other nurses by serving a unique population
of children with cancer. Her mission work, which she conducts alongside her husband,
Evan Tsepas, continues to promote and restore health to children with cancer in Haiti;
a specialized and essential function of society.”
My time at King has allowed me to be successful in my career,” said Tsepas. “I had
great experiences with my clinicals, as well as with my instructors. I was able to
do my capstone in pediatrics at Johnson City Medical Center. I always knew I wanted
to go into pediatrics. My pediatrics professor, Kathy Wilkinson, definitely paved
the way for me to be successful as a pediatric nurse. She had spent time as a pediatric
nurse at Duke at the beginning of her career and gave me the confidence to go that
route. She opened a great many doors for me and provided me many great opportunities
that would, in the end, make me a much better pediatric nurse.”
When asked about the one thing that resonated most from her time in King’s nursing
program, Tsepas shared a quote that summed it up. “‘If you treat the disease, it is
win or lose, but if you treat the person, it is win every time.’ Every kid that I
meet is not going to live. That is just the monster that cancer is, but I feel, in
100% of my cases, I was able to make a difference and make them feel loved.”
“For nurses, solid communication skills are one of the most important aspects of the
profession,” said Kathy Wilkinson, MSN RN, associate professor and director of undergraduate
Nursing for King’s School of Nursing. “Even as a nursing student, Bridgett had excellent
communication skills, especially when it came to speaking and listening. She was
able to follow directions without a problem and easily communicated with patients
and families, which has obviously led her to great opportunities with Pediatric oncology
patients and their families at Duke.
Tsepas serves as a member of the peer-elected leadership committee of her hospital
unit. While at Duke, she has received the Rookie of the Year Award, and was the Strength,
Hope, and Caring Award winner for all of Duke Health System in both 2007 and 2009.
Recipients of the Strength, Hope, and Caring Award must be nominated; in Tsepas’ case,
she was nominated once by the director of Duke’s Children’s Hospital and once by the
family of one of her patients. The award is given to those who have gone above and
beyond the call of duty.
In 2009, Tsepas became the first nurse at Duke to ever speak at Hospital-wide Grand
Rounds. In 2009, she was a poster presenter at the annual Association of Pediatric
Hematology/Oncology Nurses Conference in Orlando, Fla. In 2012, she was a speaker
for the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic, a fun-filled weekend to benefit pediatric cancer
research, patient support, and education at Duke’s Children’s Hospital. Tsepas created
a video for the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic which has been shown at various events; it
can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUpLV_xTh5U.
Tsepas has exhibited a very unselfish way of life, continuously being of service to
others. She has made significant professional achievements since graduating from
King. In April 2013 during King’s Dogwood Weekend alumni celebration, Tsepas was
awarded the 2013 Young Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes those young
alumni who have made outstanding professional contributions to their field since graduating,
and who have shown a strong commitment to the service of others. King has long sought
to provide its students with opportunities to become exceptional and thoughtful global
citizens. Of this, Bridgett Campbell Tsepas is a true example.
In addition to her other accomplishments, Tsepas also serves as director for Camp
Kaleidoscope. “Camp Kaleidoscope is Duke’s summer camp for children with chronic
illnesses,” said Tsepas. “The camp allows kids who might not pass a physical to be
able to attend a normal summer camp to then be able to attend this camp. The camp
is staffed by doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists. Kids get to sleep in
cabins with no electricity and swim in a lake. It’s real camp. I oversee the teenage
week. Many of the kids who attend have never been away from their parents for a week
because they are chronically ill.” Staff works with the campers, teaching them aspects
of independence while also caring for them in a fun, but safe environment.
In March 2013, Tsepas participated in St. Baldricks, where she and others donated
their hair to Locks of Love, then shaved their heads to help raise awareness of childhood
cancer. The money raised during the event was donated to childhood cancer research.
Tsepas said her patients loved her new look!
“Our BSN program at King emphasizes in every course that communication is a fundamental
part of providing patient-centered care and involves more than the exchange of information;
it also includes transmitting feelings, recognizing these feelings and letting the
patient know that how they feel has been recognized,” commented Wilkinson. “As Quality
and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) has been adopted as the competency base for
our nursing students, communication across the lifespan and in providing patient-centered
care has continued to be valued as one of our outcomes in our graduates, one of the
many qualities that often brings us positive feedback about our graduates from patients,
employers, and healthcare providers. Bridgett is a prime example of this outcome.”
When asked about working with pediatric oncology patients, Tsepas said, “It is very
rewarding, but also probably one of the most emotionally draining things I could ever
imagine doing. The way you can keep going is just by making a difference in people’s
lives. For the ones who do make it through and are stronger on the other side, being
able to see them accomplish great things in life after what they’ve been through is
the way you can keep doing it. The video I helped create shows kids holding up signs
showing they are survivors as well as others who are still fighting; that is why we
“We become a part of the patient’s family. I just pour out my heart 100% to them,”
continued Tsepas. “For those who work with pediatric oncology patients, we are the
closest thing they have to someone truly being able to understand what they feel.
Some of the nurses and staff have been through it themselves, so they truly understand.
“I couldn’t do what I do if it was just a job,” said Tsepas. “For me, this is a truly
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