Working Nurse and Busy Mom Makes Time to Give Back

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EKU Online MSN student Tiffany Stradling has adopted an attitude of service for herself and her family. The busy mother of five takes her older children, 9-year-old twin girls, Ellie and Kate, and 7-year-old son, Colter, to volunteer for Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit that delivers food around the world.

Sometimes, the entire family visits nursing homes to make crafts or sing to residents. She’s made blankets for the homeless, worked with the youth at her church and donated to charities that provide medical care.

Tiffany Stradling and family

“I want to help my kids understand the importance of service and to realize how blessed they truly are,” she explained. For her selflessness and academic success, the Gilbert, Ariz. resident was awarded the EKU Omega Nu Lambda Scholarship.

Tiffany has worked as an RN for 12 years, and much of her experience deals with women’s healthcare. While working at a hospital in downtown Phoenix, she became more aware of patients’ mental health needs. She’s hopeful her graduate degree will open up opportunities to support women who deal with conditions such as anxiety or post-partum depression.

When she started thinking about getting her master’s degree, she explored multiple specialties before finding her path. “I was researching and looking into things like informatics and nothing seemed to fit,” she recalls. “I found the PMH track after looking for a little while and I thought ‘This is it! This is what I want to do!’“

She joined some online discussion groups to connect with other nursing students, learn about the psychiatric mental health nursing field and get more information about various degree programs. Reading about the experiences of others helped her make the decision to enroll at EKU.

“It seemed that there was a recurring theme that EKU provided an excellent education at a very reasonable cost,” Tiffany said. “The cost was much lower than the other program in my home state of Arizona, and I liked the flexibility of the online program.”

Tiffany continues to be impressed with EKU’s reputation. Students she’s met from other programs are surprised by the frequent discussions and interactions she has with her instructors, and it doesn’t stop there. “When I mention EKU to potential future preceptors, they are almost always willing to talk with me, because they have heard great things about the program.” she said.

More than once, EKU nursing faculty have shown Tiffany that they put students first.” This past summer, she had questions about an assignment in her Rural PMHNP II course with Anna Maurine Hume, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC. Using a video conferencing service, she was able to connect with the instructor and get the information she needed. “Professor Hume went above and beyond taking time out of her Saturday morning to have a face-to-face discussion with me,” she said.

Foundational to EKU nursing programs is the idea that faculty support their graduates long after degrees are conferred. Faculty genuinely mean it when they tell students to keep in touch when they enter their practice. Tiffany feels lucky to be part of a respected program with a profound legacy.

She’s glad she chose Eastern Kentucky University and confident her education will allow her to help patients on a higher level.  “This is an excellent program, with amazing support from professors and fellow students. There is definitely a positive learning environment, and the professors genuinely want each student to learn and be successful,” she said.