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Like mother, like daughter…
Katherine Hedland '88
Nursing students daughter Tammy
Nixon ’00 (left) and mother Susan ’01.
Susan Nixon is following in her daughter’s
footsteps. After seeing how much her daughter, Tammy, enjoyed
her nursing studies, Susan chose to return to school. Susan, who
has worked as a licensed practical nurse at a family clinic in
Eatonville for 17 years, decided it was time to move up to become
a registered nurse.
“Tammy was able to achieve her goals
and her dreams, and I regretted not having done that,” Susan said.
“She was my inspiration.”
Just like Tammy, she completed her
associate’s degree at Pierce College, then moved on to PLU’s School
of Nursing, where her daughter was enrolled.
Tammy, 22, graduates in December.
Her mom will finish up in August.
“She won’t wait a year to graduate
with me,” Susan joked.
It’s been almost 20 years since the
School of Nursing has had a mother and daughter in the program
at the same time, according to Shirley Aiken, a 26-year member
of the nursing faculty.
“They will both make wonderful RNs,”
Susan, 43, said her husband, Brian,
and her two younger daughters supported her decision.
“I love having my mom here,” Tammy
said. “I’m really proud of her.”
Her mother is equally proud. The
two say they are close and share a good-natured sense of humor.
They laugh at how Tammy at first didn’t want students at Pierce
to know her mother was also taking classes, and how Susan was
embarrassed the first time she heard, “Hi Mom!” in the hallway.
Because Tammy was a year ahead, the
two never had a class together. They do talk about professors,
classes, and what they have learned.
Both say they chose nursing be-cause
they enjoy working with patients, and reaching out to others.
After completing a preceptorship (a nursing internship) in pediatrics
at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital (in Tacoma) this fall, Tammy
hopes to work with children. Susan hopes to emphasize community
health care when she chooses a specialty. Both look forward to
comparing the de-tails of their new careers—as they have with
“It’s been fun,” Susan said. “It’s
something we’ve shared, and some-thing we can always look back