Nursing Success Stories
Karissa R. Knox attended Muskingum University from 2010-2014 graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. After graduation, her nursing career started in Zanesville at Genesis Healthcare System in the Cardiovascular Intermediate Care Unit in September of 2014. In 2016, Karissa transitioned to critical care nursing, specializing in cardiovascular intensive care, in Winston-Salem, NC. 2018 led Karissa to Florida and Tampa General Hospital in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit until 2020 when Karissa was devoted to travel nursing. During her time as a travel nurse, Karissa traveled to Long Island, New York, St. Petersburg, FL and Albuquerque, NM to assist with the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for ICU nurses. For the last four and a half years of her nursing career, Karissa has utilized specialized training essential to critical care nursing to care for patients requiring Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT), temporary cardiac support devices such as Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump or Impella, durable ventricular assist devices, and therapeutic hypothermia due to cardiac arrest. Karissa has returned to Florida, working within the Coronary ICU at Tampa General Hospital again but as of May 2021, Karissa will be starting a new endeavor and pursuing a Doctor of Nursing degree in Nurse Anesthesia at The University of South Florida in Tampa. Karissa wants to thank all of the Muskingum University Department of Nursing faculty for their endless support.
Francesca Stefano is a senior nursing major from Connellsville, Pennsylvania. During her four years on campus, she has participated as a student-athlete on the women’s softball team, where she catches and plays outfield. Francesca is also a member of the Nursing Student Organization and Lambda Sigma Honor Society. For her senior year, she is currently working on a research project dealing with the mental health implications of COVID-19 on health care workers. After graduation, Francesca plans to obtain a nursing job in pediatrics. It is her long-term goal, after some experience in the field, to go back to school to further her education.
All-OAC Scholar-Athletes in Nursing
Please join the MU Nursing faculty & staff in congratulating the student-athletes below on being named All-OAC Scholar Athletes for academic year 2019-2020! Congratulations, Ehlana (Track & Field), Francesca (Softball) and Haley (Softball)!
Hailey Dickey '16
The four years I spent at Muskingum University served as an essential foundation for my personal and work related goals. Muskingum ignited the passion that is my career in nursing. It rooted my life with purpose and direction. I was equipped with the tools to critically think and navigate life with certainty. The nursing program was challenging but, I welcomed that challenge because I knew the purpose it served. Furthermore, I wanted to learn how to be a leader. I strove to grow into roles that would let me learn how to lead others and thus, why I became an active member and chairman of Theta Phi Alpha national honor society, Tri-Beta National Biology Honorary, student athletic advisory committee, and Muskingum’s nursing student organization. My success was not limited to just off the field. I was a four year athlete and captain of the Muskingum woman’s soccer team.
I did have a lot to accomplish between the classroom, organizational participation, and the field. The list seems daunting but, it taught me how to be efficient at time management and prioritization. Skills I use and in my personal life and career. These skills in combination with dedicated professors prepared me to pass the national certification exam in nursing on my first attempt. I can also attribute my success to Muskingum’s small class size. I felt as though my education was truly personal. I was treated as an individual and not a statistic. Something that cannot be promised at all universities.
Once I left Muskingum University with my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I started my nursing career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I began in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit. While here, I built on the critical thinking skills that Muskingum had established. I learned how to work under pressure in order to achieve best outcomes for patients. I learned how to care for children with complex anatomy requiring open heart surgery, heart transplants, and lung transplants to name a few. I learned how to safely and effectively operate extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, oscillators, and continuous renal replacement therapy amongst other life support machines. These devices and their mechanics appear overwhelming and complex but, because of the foundation Muskingum provided, I dove headfirst into mastering them.
In order to push myself and my career to its fullest potential, I left the cardiothoracic intensive care unit after three years to join the Nationwide Children’s Hospital critical care transport team. In this position, I care for an expansive list of illness and traumas in the pediatric community. I do so on the ground in our mobile unit or in the air in the Monarch 1 helicopter. It is me, the patient, my education, and past experiences during these transports. Yes, the pressure can be high but, I rely on the education and experiences Muskingum provided me to be successful. Without that foundation, I would not be where I am today. I will continually strive for success and have no doubt my achievements will be obtained in thanks to Muskingum.
Jonathan Pickering '16
Jonathan chose nursing because he felt it was a field that offered a lot of opportunities and professional challenges. He has witnessed how his nursing degree and EMT training complement each other: “Being a nursing student has definitely allowed me to become a more knowledgeable and proficient EMT. On the other hand being able to interact with patients in a variety of situations and being able to be autonomous with my interaction with my patients has allowed me to solidify my nursing basic skills and become much more comfortable with my interactions with patients and become confident in my abilities as a nursing student.”
Jonathan said that “being pushed intellectually” during his first year of college was a good experience that helped him learn that “college is not easy and… I need to devote my time to studying and learning class material because college is no walk in the park.”
In addition to his nursing academic studies, he was the vice president of his fraternity, a member of the Nursing Student Organization (NSO) and a staff manager for Brewed Awakenings, a weekly campus coffeehouse.
Alyssa Lightcap '15
By going through the nursing program at Muskingum, Alyssa not only learned what it took and meant to be a nurse, but she also gained so much more. "The intimate class sizes allowed me to grow so close to not only my classmates but also my professors. We all became a family, growing the program and learning together. The professors were always willing to keep their doors open to answer any questions and they were constantly working hard and looking for ways to help guarantee our success."
Alyssa also participated in the Nursing Student Organization where she was able to work alongside faculty and other students to find ways to help the program reach new levels. "The faculty put so much of their time and effort into working with us and our program to make it the best possible, and I can speak to their success. I graduated with honors in the spring, took and successfully passed my state boards on the first attempt in July, and accepted a full time position at a Magnet-recognized hospital in Dayton, Ohio in August. I owe my career and success to Muskingum University's nursing program and am eternally grateful for those who helped me become the nurse I am today."