This graduation season was particularly busy for one local family, who had three family members graduate from college within a week Tanya Allen, her daughter, Megan, and her niece, Ann Scott are all three Broken Bow High School alumni, and all received nursing degrees.
Megan is the youngest of the family trio of grads, a 2007 graduate of BBHS. She had taken some college classes while still in high school toward her degree, through Mid Plains Community College. Megan started full time at Central Community College-Kearney in the fall of 2007.
In the fall of 2008, Megan moved back to Broken Bow, taking on-line classes through MPCC. She started in the nursing program in the fall of 2009, and May 7 received her associate's degree in nursing. She will be working as a registered nurse at Jennie Melham Medical Center in Broken Bow.
Megan says she has known since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a nurse. She began working at Heritage Hall as an aid while still in high school, and continued to work there until she went to Kearney for college. Since moving back to Broken Bow, Megan has worked at JMMMC as a nurses aid.
Megan's graduation from CCC was even more special in that walking across the stage after her was her mom, Tanya Allen. Unlike her daughter, Tanya didn't always know she wanted to be a nurse. In fact, at one time in her life college seemed pretty much out of the question all together.
School was not something that was terribly important to Tanya when she was younger. When she was a sophomore she dropped out of high school, but was talked in to coming back by John Sweeney. During her junior year she again made the decision to quit school, and again Sweeney stepped in.
"John made me promise to work with him to complete my G.E.D., so I did," Tanya recalls. She completed that at the same time her class graduated.
In 1990, she started working at Sandhills Manor Nursing Home as an aid, and a year later took a medication aid class. By 1992, Tanya had decided to make nursing her career - at least for now - and started LPN school at MPCC in North Platte.
She continued working at Sandhills until her last semester of school. She graduated in 1993, and had her third child three months later.
Shortly after receiving her LPN license, Tanya began working on some classes toward her RN. She also took an IV certification class in 2006. In May 2010, she started full time in the nursing program with Megan at CCC in Kearney. The mother and daughter drove back and forth to Grand Island once a week and Kearney twice a week for the past year.
Tanya has worked at JMMMC for 16 years in various departments, including Home Health and Hospice, long term and acute. She says she had always planned to get her RN degree.
"I wanted the opportunities that will now be available to me in different areas that RN can provide," she explains.
Tanya's youngest daughter has one year of high school left, and Tanya says after that she would like to travel as a nurse.
"I want to see the world I missed out on when I was younger," she laughs.
When asked what she enjoys most about nursing, Tanya did not hesitate. "The thing I like most is getting paid for doing what I like to do. I feel very fortunate to be a nurse. Even when I'm old and can't be a nurse anymore, I will want to volunteer. I can't imagine not doing this anymore!"
The third recent graduate of the family received her master's degree the following Saturday. Ann (Holland) Scott, niece of Tanya and cousin of Megan, graduated May 14 from Creighton University in Omaha with a Master of Science in nursing degree. Like both Megan and Tanya, Ann worked as an aid prior to and during nursing school.
She started taking LPN classes at Northeast Community College in Norfolk in 1999, where she attended for one year. She completed her LPN studies at MPCC in 2001, and worked as an aid at JMMMC while in school in North Platte. After receiving her LPN degree she went to work at Gothenburg Memorial Hospital.
Ann would spend the next decade working toward her goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She earned her associate degree from MPCC in 2004, and like Tanya says she always knew she would at least be an RN. But she decided not to stop there.
"It just seemed like a natural progression for me. I just felt like I wanted more," Ann explains.
In May 2009, she earned her BSN from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She transferred to Creighton that fall so she could finish sooner. She was a very expectant mommy at the time she started at Creighton, and welcomed her first child in December 2009. Completing her masters program has been a long haul she says, and she is excited to move on.
"I look forward to now being the patient's primary care provider," says Ann. "The nurse practitioner field is built on nursing experience and background. The nurse practitioner treats the patient as a whole, and I have 10 years experience with that."
Though she did not get to graduate with Tanya and Megan, Ann did also have another family member as part of the Creighton class. Her cousin, Jacob Holland, received his BSN that same day.
While statistics continue to show a shortage of nurses in the U.S., this family is certainly doing its part to help reverse that trend. All three of these women have taken different paths and overcome obstacles to achieve success. And now all three have the degrees to prove it.