When providing care is a family affair

May is National Nurses Month, dedicated to honoring the more than four million nurses who provide care and compassion every day across the United States. As with many professions centered on helping others, one generation’s dedication can inspire others within the family’s line to follow a similar path for years to come. While the strain from the pandemic may still be felt most by nurses on the front lines, those dedicating their lives to service are resilient.

Here, The Source pays tribute to families of nurses whose commitment to care spans multiple generations.

A call to serve

Angie Mitchell, RN

“As long as I can remember, our family has always put people and service to others first,” recalls Angie Mitchell, RN, AVP, Supply Chain Operations for Hospital Sisters Health System based in Springfield, Illinois. “Whether it was law enforcement, military, ministry, teaching, nursing—our career paths have been ones of service.”

Mitchell and her mother both graduated from nursing school at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The school boasts an impressive number of families trained in nursing, including 48 sets of sisters; 14 mother/daughter pairs; 13 sets of cousins, and more. Mitchell graduated in 1981 and her mother in 1948.

Her mother’s demeanor, which Mitchell describes as compassionate, dedicated, intelligent and confident, inspired Mitchell to follow in her footsteps. “Growing up, she was a nurse in a general practitioner’s office, and many of my classmates and their families went to this physician,” she says. “So many of them and their parents would often tell me how much my mom put them at ease when they came in for a visit.” Her mother even helped a neighbor with his asthma treatment at home when he couldn’t afford weekly doctor visits.

Lasting contributions

Judy Schimmel, RN, BSN, Category Sourcing Administrator for Surgery at Franciscan Alliance in Mishawaka, Indiana, graduated with a nursing degree from Purdue, as did her mother, grandmother and aunt. They share the profession with several other relatives as well. “I always wanted to be a nurse,” Schimmel says. “It started with being in a big family and living on a farm. Wanting to help people was solidified with my mom working in surgery and my grandma working in OB.”

Schimmel’s mother helped establish a gynecological surgery unit and the Child Passenger Safety Program, which provided and fitted car seats and educated parents on safety. In her tenure, they helped more than 10,000 infants and children with properly fitted car seats.

Passion & purpose

Kristin Cole, RN, BSN, RHCNOC

Kristin Cole, RN, BSN, RHCNOC, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operations Officer at Springhill Medical Center in Springhill, Louisiana, is a third-generation nurse. Her grandmother began her nursing studies at 44, while overcoming cancer and facing the death of her husband. She persevered in her career while raising three children, two of whom became nurses. Several nieces and nephews have also followed this path.

Cole’s mother, Karen, became a nurse when Cole was 8 years old. “Because of her integrity and dedication to helping lessen the stigma around mental health services, she quickly became the manager of a mental health inpatient program,” Cole explains. “Today, my mother continues in this position at Springhill Medical Center and has helped expand the availability of mental healthcare to outpatient settings. She also worked many weekends at a neonatal intensive care unit.”

Cole adds, “My mother taught me the power of treating each person and family as a whole and not just for their physical illness. After seeing the success in nursing for both my grandmother and mother, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.”

Nurses leading nurses

Sammie Mosier
Sammie Mosier, DHA, MBA, BSN, NE-BC, CMSRN

Nursing has been a family affair for HCA Healthcare’s Chief Nurse Executive Sammie Mosier, DHA, MBA, BSN, NE-BC, CMSRN, whose mother was also a nurse. “She would come home from work and talk about her patients and the impact she made. I had a lot of pride in her and wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Mosier shares.

Mosier began her nursing journey providing patient care in the hospital med-surg environment. She transitioned into the ICU and ER departments and then took on leadership roles as a manager, director, ACNO and as a hospital Chief Nursing Officer—all within a seven-year span.

Having been a part of HCA Healthcare for more than a quarter of a century now, Mosier credits the organization with enabling her career growth. “I was pretty aggressive when it came to accomplishing goals and wanting to have a larger impact on nursing, in general,” she reflects. “I quickly understood that I could make an even bigger difference for patients and the profession through leadership.”

Shared rewards for generations to come

For these families, nursing has provided stable, meaningful careers that are as challenging as they are rewarding. “Where else can you pick and choose where and how often you work?” Schimmel asks. But even more important than the financial benefits, she adds, is the sense of purpose and care. “Nursing is the care of the whole person—body, mind and soul. That is where the fulfillment comes.”

Cole agrees that it is a privilege to provide care to patients in need and build comaraderie with other nurses. “I continuously find motivation in my supportive coworkers, improving the health of the people in our communities and the appreciation expressed from patients and their families,” she says.

When asked if they would like to see the family tradition of nursing continue, all four enthusiastically say ‘yes,’ adding that while healthcare has changed significantly in recent years, the need for nurses has not. “Healthcare can’t exist without nurses,” Mitchell says.

“Nursing is still the most relevant, financially stable profession. It will never go away, and no one can ever say it’s boring,” Schimmel adds.

Cole has two daughters and would be happy to see them become nurses. “After spending over 13 years as a nurse, I would love to be able to share this passion with them,” she says. “The good days far outweigh any tough days in a nursing career. Knowing you can positively impact so many and have the love and support of your community—I honestly can’t think of a better career choice than nursing.”

Share your family’s story with us. Email thesource@healthtrustpg.com for publishing consideration on The Source content hub.

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