Giving hearts are all in the family

Kristen Karlee Susan Hall

(Left to right - Kristen, Karlee, and Susan Hall)

When Susan Hall began her career in healthcare, she had no idea it would lead to a team of caring nurses who followed her example. What began with a degree in medical laboratory technology took a turn that’s resulted in five nurses in the family, including two of her daughters as her students.

“I wanted to continue my education and have a career with more interaction with patients,” said Susan Hall, MSN, RN, and assistant professor of practice at NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. “I was able to see the strong connection nurses had with their patients and I knew nursing would be a great fit for me. I also saw nursing had many opportunities for advancement.”

You can match the Hall family’s commitment to caring for others with your support of the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health during Giving Hearts Day on Thursday, February 10. Click to donate in support of nursing scholarships, lab equipment, and faculty development.

Hall’s career has led to positions in the hospital emergency department, walk-in clinic, flight team, and now in same day surgery, along with being a nurse educator for future nurses.

Their mother’s powerful example led her son, Andrew Blair, on his path to becoming a nurse anesthetist. He also married Amanda, a neo-natal intensive care nurse. Now, Hall’s daughters Karlee and Kristen are following in her footsteps, as she serves as one of their instructors at NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health.

“I was beyond excited that they were choosing a career in nursing,” said Hall.

“When they both chose to attend NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health, I was not only excited to have them as students, but I knew they were in good hands with a great team of educators and staff,” said Hall.

Karlee, who plans to graduate in May 2023, and Kristen, who plans to graduate in May 2024, say there are unique features of being at the same school as their mom.

“She is very involved with letting me know I should always be working on schoolwork,” said Karlee.  “A nice benefit is that she can help support and encourage me.”

Karlee chose nursing for several reasons. “I like caring for people and being there for patients in some of the hardest times of their lives,” said Karlee, who counts family as her nursing role models. “I know how much my mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law genuinely care for their patients, their amazing people skills, and how wisely they use their knowledge to heal their patient.”

Karlee decided to attend school close to home. She appreciates the hands-on clinical skills she is learning. “Professors will aid you on questions you have about anything. Time flexible tutors are always helpful for any class or lecture you didn’t understand,” said Karlee. “I love how friendly everyone is in all the student cohorts. I love how you know everyone’s name in your class and the teachers get to know our names, too.”

Her younger sister Kristen also sees opportunities in healthcare. “I wanted to pursue nursing because I saw how much my mom enjoyed her job and how she took pride in being able help heal others. I knew I always wanted to be a part of something that could help make a difference in someone’s life,” said Kristen, who is proud that nursing is a family affair.

“My favorite part about going to the same school as them is being able to go and get lunch together! It is always fun talking about what I am learning about in my other classes and getting to bond over my newfound knowledge,” said Kristen.

“My inspiration at NDSU was my sister. I watched her go through her first year of nursing and wanted to do the same,” said Kristen. “I think my sister and I do a little bit of collaborating and competing. I always try to get better grades than her, yet she will always give me helpful advice when taking the classes that she has already taken.”

Both Karlee and Kristen hope to work in Bismarck after completing their nursing degrees.

Their mom Sue Hall said all her students bring joy to her role as a nurse educator. “Seeing my former students practicing in the hospital has been the most memorable times in my career. I work side- by-side with former students and see them shine in their practice,” said Hall. “I am constantly amazed at how much they have grown from being a first semester junior and having their first clinical experience to practicing as a nurse.”

Sue Hall also has a specific wish for all the nurses in her own family.

“I hope they find an area of nursing that they truly love and can be passionate about. I hope they can make a difference in their patients’ lives, grow into being advocates for making change in healthcare, and become an expert in their field.”

The NDSU School of Nursing provides bachelor’s and graduate nursing education at sites in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota. Programs are available for part- and full-time students, working professionals and those seeking online educational opportunities. 

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