Maria Mlinac, MSN, RN, is an instructor at Ursuline College’s Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions. A registered nurse with 25 years of experience in the critical care setting, Mlinac is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge base and skills of the future nursing workforce while assisting in the development of critical thinking and, ultimately, strengthening clinical judgement throughout the nursing profession. She possesses the ability to evolve the classroom into an active learning lab through real life cases shared through storytelling and enhanced with activities designed to develop and sustain critical thinking and clinical judgement that aligns with the NGN model. A compassionate, supportive educator, Mlinac holds students accountable while advocating for their needs in curriculum development and academic advising. At the same time, she serves as a role model for professionalism and professional conduct. Her teaching responsibilities include assisting nursing students in enhancing their knowledge base of complex nursing concepts in the care of acutely ill adult patients and reinforcing these complex concepts through exercises that apply theory to practice. Her commitment to quality nursing and patient care extends beyond the classroom. As a registered surgical intensive care nurse at Lake West Medical Center, she orients new hires to this challenging environment as well as trains current ICU nurses in the recovery and continued care of post-operative open-heart patients.