“First day of nursing school,” reads the sign Kristen Romanovich holds in a recent Facebook post. Like so many students, she was ready for her first day of class.
“I have wanted to be a nurse my entire life,” says Romanovich. “When I attended medical assistant (MA) school in 1993, my intention was to work as an MA only a few years, then go back to nursing school.”
So, what happened?
Romanovich married Chip and they raised three beautiful daughters, Elyse, Emily and Olivia. In 2018, Romanovich applied to nursing school and two weeks later, her husband had a heart attack, putting school on the back burner.
“It was worrisome,” says Romanovich. “He is my rock and we almost lost him.”
Romanovich has worked as a certified medical assistant (CMA) since 1995. She joined IU Health in October 2010. She started her career in dermatology then joined the outpatient float pool where she has had the opportunity to work in each of the organization’s 50-plus clinical departments.
“Working in the Clinical Resource Pool was fun and challenging to me because it made me very versatile and flexible,” says Romanovich. “I enjoyed that challenge.”
Romanovich was part of the team redeployed to the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic during the pandemic due to her experiences with flu clinics. Her start in the vaccine clinic was delayed while she recovered from COVID-19.
“I got more out of it than our patients did,” says Romanovich. “I got to wear so many hats, help our community and form new relationships—it was an honor to be a part of it.”
In June 2022, Romanovich joined the Urgent Care team and her desire to become a nurse intensified.
“You just never know what's going to walk through our doors, and I love caring for patients in that capacity,” says Romanovich. “When someone is injured, they are usually scared or sad. I enjoy being the person that comforts them.”
With her husband doing well and her children grown, Romanovich, taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement option, applied to Ivy Tech for the MA to Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) fast track program. A degree that typically can take two to three years will be completed in one year.
“This is a brand-new program that I am so grateful to have been selected for the first class,” says Romanovich. “I will attend full-time for three semesters, finishing my capstones in July 2024.”
While she continues to work full time, she has the support of her team, leadership and family, who remind her often that school is important. Her dream to become a nurse is important.
She has buddied up with another MA team member going through the ASN program as well.
“We will support each other,” says Romanovich. “We already have a countdown calendar—11 months.”
Romanovich will walk across the stage for her graduation from Ivy Tech in May 2024, 10 days before her 50th birthday. She will be eligible for boards in August 2024.
This time next year, she will be Kristen Romanovich, RN.