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Molded by Mercy

November 30, 2016
By Deb Daley

Teacher, health care advocate, clinician, cancer specialist, and active alumna— all these words and phrases might describe Kelly K. Nystrom ’86. Kelly is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Creighton University. She has been in that role for 16 years.

At Mercy Kelly participated in a number of activities including the Journalism club, serving as one of the photographers, National Honor Society, and the debate team. She recalls Sr. Rosemary, the debate coach, worked very hard to make sure they were successful, confident young women.

“[Sr. Rosemary] not only taught us how to develop our critical thinking skills for debate, but she spent time making sure we did well on other things like standardized tests and became independent women. She even taught me how to pump gas before I could drive!” she said.


Kelly says she left Mercy a much more confident person and with stronger faith. She remembers Sr. Rosemary used to pray the Memorae before each debate competition.

“The Memorare is my favorite prayer today,” said Nystrom. “And I still cannot say it without thinking of Sr. Rosemary.”

After graduation, Kelly attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for three years and lived with Mercy classmate Melissa Revers Lorenzen all three years. She transferred to University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for pharmacy school, graduating in 1993 with a PharmD. After that, she moved to Charleston, West Virginia to complete a one-year Pharmacy Practice residency.

She has worked in various health care positions prior to her appointment at Creighton. Kelly spent time at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in their oncology inpatient satellite and clinic and at Nebraska Medicine in their bone marrow transplant unit and inpatient oncology unit. She is a Board Certified Oncology pharmacist.

“Mercy gave me the confidence to know that I had the ability to do almost anything I wanted, as long as I was willing to work hard and put in the effort. Mercy instilled a sense of responsibility and citizenship as well. I find myself taking on responsibilities or doing things at work, not necessarily because I want to, but because I know it is the right thing to do,” she explained

And still, Kelly believes the biggest impact Mercy has on her was the friendships she created while she attended Mercy.

“I still see many of my classmates on a regular basis and we have supported each other through good and bad times. I don’t know what I would do without my Mercy sisters!” she added.


She is currently a member of the Mercy Alumnae Council, where she helps with alumnae events such as the Golden Guild Tea.

“At the Golden Guild tea I love watching the awe some of our graduates experience when they see how much Mercy has changed. I also like to hear them talk about their memories and many of the traditions we have still today,” she added.

Kelly feels strongly about the FIESTA because it raises money for the Negotiated Tuition Program.

“Mercy provides a service to the community through its Negotiated Tuition Program. Many of the girls would not be able to attend the school without this program,” she said.

Kelly is also quick to point out what a difference Mercy makes.

“Mercy is so much more than four years of high school. Mercy Girls take the experience they receive at Mercy and ‘pay it forward’ in their communities, impacting the lives of so many others,” she said.

Kelly should know. She is one of those alumnae impacting the lives of college students studying in a critical health care field.