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Cheers to empowering nurse educators: Celebrating a milestone at ATI Nursing Education

Sep 15, 2023, 08:00 AM
<6-min. read> ATI Nursing Education holds a place of distinction among businesses that support nurse educators, as a leader and solution innovator for 25 years.

ATI Nursing Education celebrates 25 momentous years

“Our clients and our people.”

“A ‘we’ before ‘me’ mindset.”

“A commitment to doing the right thing for customers and employees.”

In the words of longtime ATI Nursing Education employees, these are key reasons why the company has reached an important milestone: 25 years of serving nursing education with resources that empower educators to effectively prepare students for success on the NCLEX and in clinical practice.

For many employees, ATI feels more like a community than a workplace. The key reason is that staff members and teams are passionate about ATI’s mission: to equip nursing programs with product solutions that lead to their desired outcomes. From admitting the right students to learning core curriculum to providing clinical experiences and assuring NCLEX preparedness, the 300+ people who work at ATI Nursing Education are committed to delivering superior results and service every day.

 ATI Nursing Education celebrates 25 years of supporting nurse educators 

ATI Nursing Education lays the groundwork for success

Assessment Technologies Institute (later renamed ATI Nursing Education) was established in 1998 by Rich and Dena Bartlett and Randy and Leslie Treas of Overland Park, Kan. Their combination of market knowledge, product development skills, and psychometric expertise produced ATI’s initial products: the RN and PN Comprehensive Predictor Assessments, the RN and PN Content Mastery Assessments, and the Critical Thinking Assessment.

“These products gave us the basis for the Comprehensive Assessment and Review Program (CARP),” said Principal Software Engineer Kim Osterback, the longest-tenured employee at ATI. She was an IT contractor in 1998 and became a full-time employee in 2001. “The next big milestone was the launch of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) in 2000. The ability to administer online proctored tests was significant.”

In the years since these initial offerings helped transform nursing education resources, ATI has developed solution after solution — the most recent being Launch: Nursing Academic Readiness and the Engage Series. These innovations are two of dozens that embody ATI Nursing Education’s groundbreaking approach to ensuring that nursing programs and their educators are graduating practice-ready nurses.

Employees work with purpose and passion at ATI Nursing Education

Since the early days of ATI, selflessness and action have been at the forefront of every workday. The small cadre of employees in the early 2000s did what ATI talent continues to do today: work together with purpose and passion.

When Executive Vice President Mike Lynch was hired in 2003 as a customer service and sales representative, ATI had about 30 employees. “It was a fun, fast and competitive time,” he said. “We worked hard to develop a deep understanding of our offerings. It was very exciting to introduce these solutions to nursing programs and see these clients thrive.”

By 2003, ATI Nursing Education was highly regarded for its standardized testing solutions (TEAS, Content Mastery Series, and the Comprehensive Predictor) and remediation products (online practice assessments with rationales and the Review Module). And the idea train kept on rolling. “The next big innovation project was placing the Review Modules onto DVDs and developing the Skills Modules and Virtual-ATI,” Lynch said.

Regional Vice President Scott Novorr also joined ATI as a customer service and sales representative in 2003. He described the atmosphere as that of a true startup, brimming with activity and possibility. “Being a new, small company, we did a little bit of everything, from selling, servicing, and orienting customers to packing boxes in the warehouse. These are memories that I treasure.”

When Krystal Webb joined ATI in 2004, her position was Client Account Manager and her range of responsibilities included paper-pencil scoring of all proctored paper-pencil assessments. In her current role as Senior Training and Sales Enablement Manager, she delivers orientation trainings for new ATI Nursing Education employees and is a frequent emcee and host for company-wide virtual events.

“We were a team of 50 when I started,” she recalled. “We launched the Skills Modules, and a lot of hard work went into developing that resource. Our clients absolutely loved the online tutorial videos, student tracking, and the pre- and posttests. It was especially exciting to them because the competition sold DVDs.”

Webb said she feels particularly honored to be part of the team at the first National Nurse Educator Summit in 2010. This annual event gathers nurse educators from across the country for 3 days of inspiring CE sessions, interactive workshops, and meaningful networking opportunities. “One bit of history I’m proud of is the birth of the Nursing Summit. It’s been incredible to watch this grow, and I am very proud of the work our Marketing team has put into making this the best conference in the country.”

Register for the 2024 National Nurse Educator Summit

ATI’s achievements over 25 years are the direct result of the dedication, talents, and teamwork of creative, committed employees. Across every department and team, the common refrain is that our people — and the culture established by ATI Nursing Education and its parent company, Ascend Learning — make the difference.

The ATI Way

When asked why they have remained with ATI for 20 or more years, Osterback, Lynch, Novorr, and Webb emphasized the importance of company culture, the real and visible impact of their work on healthcare, and ATI Nursing Education’s commitment to caring about, and listening to, its clients.

“Our culture and how the company treated us in the early years made it easy to fall in love with ATI.” Novorr said. “Over time, as we’ve grown and gone through multiple acquisitions, the core tenets of our culture have not changed. ATI has remained a values-driven company that has demonstrated loyalty and appreciation toward its employees.”

Lynch shared that the purpose of his work is especially meaningful. “There is nothing better than going to bed at night knowing you have helped someone achieve their dream to become a nurse,” he said. “I witnessed it myself when I watched my daughter graduate from Creighton University’s nursing program in 2023 after using ATI products.”

Osterback particularly appreciates the many opportunities for innovation and collaboration. “What I’ve enjoyed most about working at ATI is the people I’ve served with ‘in the trenches’ and the opportunities to create new things and deliver them in ways that delight our customers. I’ve stayed all these years because of the people, the company mission, and the challenge that each day provides.”

For Webb, being a longtime ATI Nursing Education employee boils down to one reason: “The people. Hands down, the BEST people!”

Novorr expressed a similar sentiment about the sense of community built at ATI. “What I’ve enjoyed most is the friendships and connections I’ve made with both my ATI family and my clients,” he said. “When you wake up each day knowing that you’re doing truly meaningful work, and you enjoy the people you work with, it’s easy to love what you do.”

How ATI Nursing Education changes lives

The sense of community fostered at ATI Nursing Education is a key characteristic of all Ascend Learning brands. When Ascend Learning was established in 2010, ATI Nursing Education was already a major force in the development of new nurses, having prepared thousands for success on the NCLEX. How appropriate, then, that Ascend Learning declared a mission to change lives — providing a continually reigniting purpose for employees of ATI and all other Ascend brands.

As President of Ascend Learning – Healthcare, Sean Burke sees a team of dedicated employees meeting this mission every day. They are passionate about the meaningful results of their work, he said in commenting on ATI’s 25th anniversary. He shared one of many examples:

“After joining our company, I asked a nurse caring for my mother whether she used ATI in nursing school. I was filled with pride when she said ‘yes.’ Reflecting on the countless nurse educators, nurses, patients, and families ATI has touched over the past 25 years, it is truly humbling yet inspiring to consider the impact the ATI team has on nursing and patient care. We change (a lot of) lives.”

Learn more about ATI Nursing Education