Pursue Wonder: An Interview with Kari Sandau

A female professor in a labcoat holds a book titled ECG Breakout. She is standing next to a set of hospital beds and is smiling broadly. "Pursue Wonder" is superimposed on the image with her name, Kari Sandau, Professor of Nursing.
Photo Credit: Michael Martin
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Here at the George Fox Library, we’re invested in the virtue of wonder. Our collections connect us to the wonders of the world and inspire us to ask new questions every day. We hope to teach students to engage with wonder as they ask good questions and pursue truth. We also love being connected to the work and expertise of George Fox faculty, and we are thrilled to continue the Pursue Wonder Project, a monthly feature with scholars from across campus to see how they connect wonder and hope to their work as teachers, administrators, and educators.

This month, we’re featuring Kari Sandau, Assistant Professor of Nursing. Check out her thoughts in our interview below:

What’s something that you are curious about?

So many things! How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? How can we reduce rates of heart failure in our community? How can I help my students master complicated material while keeping class engaging?

How do wonder and curiosity connect to your life as a scholar and instructor?

As a nurse, I strive to improve patient outcomes and improve care. An essential part of the profession is to provide excellent care that is grounded in evidence-based best practices. My goal is also to stay curious and reflect on my care. A nurse is consistently asking If/Then questions. Did what I do work? What will I do differently next time? Nursing research is all about improving outcomes for those we serve. The catalyst is often a patient’s story or harm that we bear witness to.

As an instructor, this curiosity leads to asking the question: how can I help my students learn? How can I support them to become the best caregivers for their future patients? The continuous improvement focus of nursing patient care has easily transferred to teaching practice. I aim to stay curious and always work to improve the way that I teach concepts and assess understanding.

What do you hope to learn more about in the future?

  • Intrinsic versus external motivation and how they impact learning.
  • What are ways to strengthen nurses’ cultural humility? 
  • How can we reduce rates of heart failure in our community?

How does the pursuit of learning connect to your faith?

I believe that we are created in God’s image.  He created us with the abilities and gifts such as creativity and ‘inquisitivity’.  I am called by faith to serve others, and be a peacemaker.  As a lifelong learner, I am able to continue to grow and develop the skills I need to make a difference as a servant, as a caregiver, a peacemaker, and a teacher in my community.

What about the things you are learning, researching, or teaching gives you hope? 

One topic I teach is about caring for those with cancer.  The new innovative ways to treat various types of cancer are exciting and give me hope.

My students also give me hope.  I love getting to watch them ask questions, learn, and care for others.  The sheer number of lives that George Fox Nurses impact each day is mind-boggling.