Alumni Spotlight – Robert Knudsen, Class of 2014 & 2015

April 7, 2021

What is your hometown and undergrad school, and can you please share any family info you feel is pertinent? 

I was born in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and raised in St. George, Utah. I attended undergrad school at Dixie State University prior to enrolling at Roseman.

When and why did you decide you wanted to be a nurse?

 I decided I wanted to become a nurse when our country went through the Great Recession in 2008-2009. My decision to become a nurse was motivated primarily by the profession’s job security. I wanted to be in a field that could withstand economic downturns. My appreciation for nursing grew as I went through school and started my clinical rotations. I realized the impact nurses can have on a patient’s well-being when they go beyond simply passing medications and doing assessments. Taking the extra time to truly communicate with patients and address their individual concerns changed my outlook on becoming a nurse. I realized that the practice of nursing was more rewarding and fulfilling than simply collecting a paycheck, and I will never regret joining the field.

Why did you enroll at Roseman?

 I was drawn to Roseman because of the opportunity to earn a BSN degree in 18 months. I also have a brother that graduated from the pharmacy program when the school was still known as the University of Southern Nevada, and he told me that I would get a good education at Roseman.

What was your Roseman experience like on campus? Can you share some memories and highlights?

 I very much enjoyed my nursing school experience. My classmates were intelligent, with a wonderful sense of humor. Our professors were knowledgeable and made the classes engaging. I have fond memories of visiting the professors’ offices to talk about their lectures and discuss my career plans. Oddly enough, some of my favorite memories involve the stress of preparing for exams with my friends, putting together outlines, and speculating about what would be on the test.

Who were your role models then (any faculty or staff at Roseman?), who are your role models now, and/or who are YOU now a role model for?

I have had several role models throughout my life. While in the BSN program, Dean Susan Watson, Professor Gigi Marshall, and Professor Cathryn Barber all played a valuable part in my success. They invested their time and energy into me, sharing advice that helped me to become a better nurse.

In the MBA program, Professor Amanda Okolo was somebody I admired. She had completed the BSN program at Roseman and then went on to earn her JD degree. I had wanted to be an attorney when I was in high school, and she showed me that it was possible to continue pursuing that dream. She allowed me to pick her brain about law school admission requirements and what to expect in law school.

I have also had several mentor/mentee relationships with co-workers over the years. I have been proud to train several new graduate nurses and formed some great relationships. I’ve also been fortunate to work with mentors who are open to answering my questions and helping me to improve my skills, whether in nursing or the practice of law.

Perhaps my most important mentor has been my father. He has a wealth of experience in conflict management and successfully navigating professional relationships. I have turned to him for advice throughout my life when I have faced adversity or felt unsure of how to proceed, and he has never steered me wrong.

I have found it important to have a mentor in each work or school setting, and I would encourage everyone to find that person who they can ask questions and receive guidance.

What would you say to someone who wants to earn a degree at Roseman?

 The Roseman approach to education works. If you want to feel prepared for your licensing exams and ready to enter your chosen profession, go to Roseman. The pressure of having to meet a 90% passing standard on every exam will push you to learn the material because there is little room for error. The decision to attend Roseman is an investment in yourself that will pay off.

Tell us about your career path so far – how did you end up as a lawyer with an MBA too? What is a typical day like for you now?

 I’ve already discussed my motivations for entering the nursing field above. When I learned that Roseman offered an MBA program, I knew I wanted to attend. I had always been curious about the business world and this was the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge in that area. I also felt that having an MBA would provide more career opportunities because it would look good on a résumé.

I started to seriously consider law school in the last couple of months of completing the MBA program when Professor Okolo taught us about business law. Learning her background inspired me to look into attending law school. I studied for the LSAT, got a good score, and was accepted at several well-respected law schools. Ultimately, I chose to stay in Las Vegas and attend UNLV because I could continue working full-time while attending their part-time evening program. For nearly four years, I attended law school Monday – Thursday and worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights as an RN. Despite my busy schedule, many of the same study habits I developed at Roseman helped me to thrive in law school, and I graduated with honors.

I now work as an attorney at Beard St. Clair Gaffney PA in Idaho Falls, Idaho. I had worked as a summer associate for the firm my last summer of law school and accepted their job offer. I am a litigation attorney, specializing in medical malpractice, contracts, and property disputes. I also assist one of the partners with prosecuting criminal cases for smaller neighboring towns. I draft motions and pleadings, make arguments in court, and interface with clients and opposing counsel on a regular basis. I enjoy my job because it allows me to use all of my education while representing my clients.

What will the future bring for you? What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?

 I have a goal to become a partner at the firm in the next few years. It’s hard to know how the practice of law will change in the future but doing good work and building relationships will always be important. I hope to be working at the same law firm in 10 years, and hopefully one of the firm’s top income earners.

 Please share any current family/relationship/pet information.

 I have been married for almost ten years. We have a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. We are expecting our third child in August.

 What are your hobbies, interests, favorite charities, etc.?

 I enjoy playing with my kids and spending time with my wife. I also love sports. I have been a lifelong fan of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team. I have gone with my family to a Blazers game each of the last five years. I also enjoy volunteering my time doing pro bono work for an organization called CASA, representing the interests of abused or neglected children.

 What is your favorite tv show, podcast, movie, and book?

 My favorite tv show is Breaking Bad. My favorite movie is The Dark Knight. My favorite books are the Harry Potter series.

 Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

 I would like to thank my wife, Stephanie, for supporting me through all of my school. I would also like to thank my parents for teaching me how to work hard and not give up. Thank you to all of those who have invested time and energy into helping me succeed.

 Anything else you’d like to add?

 The only limits to what you can accomplish are those that you place on yourself. Don’t allow self-imposed restrictions to keep you from reaching your goals.