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A heart-to-heart Talk with graduate nursing students Suzette and Stephen Maynard

A heart-to-heart talk with graduate nursing students Suzette and Stephen Maynard

Musician John Lennon once said “everything is clearer when you're in love."

Graduate nursing students Suzette and Stephen Maynard can attest to that. Both are pursuing their Masters of Science in Nursing at Otterbein and consider each other their best “study buddies.” The couple has been married six years and will celebrate number seven on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14.  

“Studying together is the best part. It doesn’t always feel like studying because we get to hang out with each other. I look at it as a total advantage on so many levels. We can teach each other and know we’re going through at the same time. Our date nights 99% of the time are usually at the library,” Suzette explains.

Suzette and Stephen met at Morehead State University while Stephen finished his undergraduate degree and Suzette her first master’s degree. They were married in Cincinnati, Ohio and made the move to Westerville so each could finish the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program. They learned about Otterbein’s program through a nursing instructor and were impressed to have the option to go directly from an associate Registered Nurse (RN) to FNP. Stephen adds that they liked having the hands-on approach to learning everything. Doing it together was an added bonus.

“I can’t imagine going through this program alone without Stephen. It definitely is a lot of work, but so worth the reward to be an FNP,” Suzette said.

“Going to Otterbein has also given me instant credibility when going to clinical sites,” said Stephan. I constantly hear how Otterbein graduates are some of the best prepared FNP’s.”  

Since both are going through the same program, Suzette says they better understand each other and the demands on their time. Like most young couples, they enjoy being together but they don’t have much time for a typical work-life balance. Both also work as emergency department RN’s, so most of their conversation centers around school or studying.

“Sometimes we have dinner conversations that would make the normal person blush,” Stephen said. “We don’t really have a lot of balance, but when you are going through life with your best friend you don’t always need it.”

Even with their busy lives, Suzette and Stephen still find time to volunteer with the Mount Carmel Stroke Outreach program. They educate children about recognition of stroke symptoms and to call 911. They also travel to senior living facilities and educate residents and their families about stroke recognition and prevention.   

“We handle balancing work, life and our home by just enjoying the time together. We are both good about giving each other what we need: be it a good laugh, griping about school work or just de-stressing,” Stephen said.

Both Stephen and Suzette are looking forward to graduating this spring. Stephen says he’s ready to work as an FNP in an area where he can make a difference in people’s lives and perhaps obtaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Suzette shares his enthusiasm to begin making a positive impact in a patient’s life right away.

“Being an RN has been extremely rewarding, but I can’t wait to see how rewarding being an FNP will be in the future. I can’t even imagine.”  

For more information about Otterbein’s graduate nursing programs, visit the Graduate School website.