New nurses ready to join the medical profession

Class marks 10th anniversary of nursing graduates

Leaving her premature daughter in the NICU was devastating for Stephanie Hann.

Worse than the emergency C-section at midnight was the thought of leaving her new baby alone in a hospital. “As I was holding her in the NICU that day, I realized that I had to go home, but she had to stay… How do I leave her?”

Hann will always remember the name of nurse Dolly, who told the heartbroken mother: “I’ve got this. You can go home, because I’ve got this for you.”

Hann relayed her story to a class of 30 nursing graduates during Kent State University at Stark’s Spring 2018 Nursing Convocation on May 10. Hann challenged her fellow graduates to be the type of nurse who is remembered.

Nurse Dolly prompted Hann to study nursing, an intensive bachelor’s degree program that requires 12-hour clinicals and critical care tests, 25-page papers and eventual board of nursing exam. 

But there’s reward in the hard work. Eldora Lazaroff, senior lecturer of nursing, told the graduating nurses they would have a chance to share stories with their patients, comfort families and make true change in their communities. “(You will) change the world one patient experience at a time,” she said.

That’s exactly the hope of Austin Eisenbrei, who was inspired to become a nurse when he was just 14. 

“There has to be a reason that draws you to caring for others. For me, I like the idea of going home at night and being tired because I changed someone’s life,” he said. 

Tragedy drew him to the profession. When his older sister’s baby died from cancer at 7 months old, Eisenbrei said, “Those nurses took care of my whole family. It showed me what nurses really do. They are not just caring for patients; they are caring for how the entire family feels. It is truly all-encompassing care.”

The 2014 Jackson High School graduate said he was lucky to have “such an amazing program in my own backyard."

“I couldn’t have asked for a more fantastic set of professors,” he said. “Every single one of them knows our names. They know who we are. They care not only about our grades, but also our stories.”

For Alexandra Miller of Uniontown, the top-notch reputation of the program fueled her through to graduation day as well as her mother, Ann, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years. “When you tell nurses on the floor you are attending Kent State Stark, it definitely means something,” Miller said. “It is a reputable program, and if you are in it, if you make it through, it is something to be proud of.”

The recent pinning ceremony also marked the 10th anniversary of the Kent State Stark nursing program. 

College of Nursing Professor Chrissy Kauth thanked alumni for paving the way. Five nurses from the first graduating class – Lindsay Grace, Amanda Jones, Lauren Mackie, Tori Oyer and Megan Traynor – attended the convocation May 10.

They agreed the intensive academic program at Kent State Stark fully prepared them for their careers. 

Grace, who works at a local hospital, said she often sees Kent State Stark nursing faculty in the field. “I still see them and look up to them,” she said. “They are mentors and role models still to this day.”

POSTED: Friday, May 11, 2018 04:06 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 03:18 AM
Melissa Griffy Seeton