Great Grads 2023: Noteworthy graduate Winnie Spitza Shouse earns her fourth Nursing-related degree at Bellarmine

In the competitive professional world that awaits many graduates, we often pose the future as a crossroads: two divergent paths. Usually, this crossroads moment means a choice, prioritizing profession over passions. Instead of possibilities, we are left with inevitabilities and, at worst, regrets for the road not taken. It’s a decision that Winnie Spitza Shouse considered at the start of her academic career.
“When looking at my career and going to college, I contemplated doing music or nursing,” she said. “I wanted to be a nurse since I was eight years old. But I also loved singing.” Was there a path forward for both? 
“Music has been a part of my life from a young age,” Winnie said. From violin lessons at 4 to joining the church choir at 7, Winnie really found her voice in middle and high school. “I started cantoring and leading the congregation in song at St. Agnes when I was 12,” she said. “In high school at Sacred Heart Academy, I sang with the a capella and madrigal choirs. I also participated in musicals at Sacred Heart, St. X, and Trinity.”
“I love being able to do two things that I love so much—caring for others and sharing my gift of music."

Enrolling at Bellarmine as an undergrad allowed Winnie to explore her other passion, nursing. Her interest in medicine was instilled in Winnie at an early age by her grandfather, who had always wanted to be a doctor. Bellarmine’s highly ranked Nursing program (rated the No. 2 Best Nursing College in Kentucky by and high pass rate for the NCLEX (nursing boards) felt like a natural fit.

During her time at Bellarmine, Winnie earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2010), a Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration (2016), and a Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner (2021). This month she will earn her fourth Bellarmine degree, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice.
Winnie is quick to attribute her success to the university’s Nursing faculty. “I would not have made it through my four degrees from Bellarmine University if not for their encouragement and compassion,” she said. “They truly are the backbone of the university. They prepared me for my role as a nurse and nurse practitioner by providing me with the information necessary to diagnose and treat patients. Their lectures included stories of their experiences working as nurses and practitioners that not only helped me remember the information but helped me apply it in real life. They were also readily available to help me succeed in any way they could.”
In her studies, Winnie also realized how important music was in maintaining a work/life balance. “I decided that music was something I loved but liked to do for fun and stress relief, so I decided I could do both! I could be a nurse and sing on the side.” 
Winnie performs the national anthem for the University of Louisville, Bellarmine Athletics and the Louisville Bats. She also sings at Catholic churches across the city, at both masses and weddings. “I love being able to do two things that I love so much—caring for others and sharing my gift of music. I truly do have the best of both worlds!”
Congratulations to Winnie Spitza Shouse, APRN, FNP-C, Norton Healthcare. We thank her for sharing her expertise and passions with our community. 


Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.