Buffalo native Stephanie Bryant didn’t always know what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Discovering a passion for nursing
“When I first tried going to college, someone told me to pick a job that I excelled at,” Stephanie laughs. “The problem was, I was good at everything!”
She spent some time working various jobs, until one day her aunt suggested she become a certified phlebotomist.
Stephanie liked the idea, so she took a course at Erie 1 BOCES. After graduating from the phlebotomy program, she was immediately offered a job at Sisters Hospital. As a phlebotomist, she drew blood from patients for medical testing.
Immersed in the patient care setting, Stephanie realized her true calling in life: nursing.
“Working as a phlebotomist, it became clear to me that I was meant to help people,” she says. “I knew that I wanted to become a nurse and make a difference in my local community.”
Stephanie studied and became a licensed practical nurse, serving as a float nurse in various Western New York nursing homes.
“I was really hoping to be hired as a full-time nurse,” she says. “One day, I found a job posting for overnights at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. I applied, and they hired me!”
Landing at Trocaire
Talking with another nurse at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Stephanie admitted that she wanted to go back to school to become a registered nurse.
“It turns out the woman I was speaking with was Nancy Chojecki, a Trocaire nursing instructor,” Stephanie says. “She praised Trocaire’s nursing program and ensured me that was where I belonged because of my passion for patient care.”
Stephanie visited the campus, where she met with Dr. Carol Fanutti, dean of the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing.
“My experience with Dr. Fanutti really put a stamp on it,” she says. “She, along with everyone from registration, scheduling, financial aid and beyond, was wonderful. They walked me through everything and explained all of my expectations.”
After completing her associate degree in nursing in 2013, Stephanie was told that she could continue her education with Trocaire and earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She enrolled, and is due to graduate in May 2015.
A future in community health nursing
Currently, Stephanie is a full-time RN at ECMC.
“I have an excellent support system both at home and at Trocaire,” she says. “I have a husband and five kids that understand this is mommy time. I’ve also made great relationships with students and instructors at Trocaire that will stay with me for a lifetime.”
When asked about her hopes for the future, Stephanie was quick to respond.
“I’m very passionate about community health nursing,” Stephanie says. “I want to go out into the community and educate the diverse underprivileged population. Many times they see you have a title and they don’t think you will understand what they are going through, but I want to let them know I have the same fears and the same questions. I want to talk about health and help them get better.”
She’s not finished yet. Stephanie hopes to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.
“Long-term, I want to educate young women in low income areas of their potential,” she says; “that they can have anything they want: an education, career and a family.”
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