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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]


Like mother, like daughter…

Nursing students daughter Tammy Nixon '00 (left) and mother Susan '01
Nursing students daughter Tammy Nixon ’00 (left) and mother Susan ’01.

By Katherine Hedland '88

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,” Aiken said.

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 their education.

“It’s been fun,” Susan said. “It’s something we’ve shared, and some-thing we can always look back on.”

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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