Alumni

Stephanie Suzadail

  • Nursing

She’s the nurse you never hope to meet. But if the unimaginable occurs, you’ll be in caring and capable hands. Nursing graduate Stephanie Suzadail is a Certified Flight Registered Nurse for Geisinger Life Flight. She stands tough in the face of adversity, remains calm under pressure, and credits her education at Penn College for the confidence she brings to her high-stakes career.

Stephanie Suzadail

Q&A with Stephanie

TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR MORE REWARDING EXPERIENCES.

The most rewarding experience was working with a patient who was in a vehicle crash with a terribly lacerated liver. He required over 140 different blood products, multiple surgeries, months of intensive care/ventilator use/heart and lung bypass/renal replacement therapy. After he was discharged, his brother sent me pictures of him and his children at his sister’s wedding. I remember having to intubate him, start multiple blood products on him, and deliver complex medication drips to stabilize his hemodynamics in the middle of a dark helicopter. I visited him three times in the hospital. Seeing him get a little better each time made me realize this was where I wanted to be. Not every patient survives, but patients like him strengthen your resolve.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH NURSING?

As a kid, I think. My dad was the definition of Humpty Dumpty. If it could be fallen through, under, on, beside, around ... that was him. I got used to being there and helping take care of him. My mom then also got really sick with an immune disorder that wiped out her ability to create antibodies. As a result, she saw many intensive care visits over simple illnesses that you and I could easily fight off. Medicine was something I was exposed to a lot as a kid. I started as an EMT as a teenager and never looked back.

WHY EMERGENCY NURSING?

Emergency nursing is a lot of calm in crisis and prioritization in the face of chaos. I am a bit of a tornado myself, so the idea of chaos excites me. I love chaos. I work best under pressure, and there’s a lot of that in emergency and trauma. That doesn’t mean it’s disorganized or haphazard. It requires you to be proficient and level-headed. It requires you to be able to step up and lead, or at least take direction. I always felt the call of leadership myself. Some see this quality in women as bossy, but I felt more assertive. And when it comes to advocating for patients, nurses should be able to assert. It’s a fine line to walk being tactful but assertive, and I think emergency and trauma calls for that trait.

WHAT DREW YOU TO FORENSIC NURSING?

Forensic nursing is a weird passion of mine. It came from surviving and overcoming abuse from a boyfriend and wanting to empower victims. I want to make their voices heard and give them the justice that I didn’t feel like I had. I have no regrets in my own life, but recognize I don’t want others to feel what I felt. I want to advocate for men, women and children and advance the current state of the legal system. Additionally, forensics focuses a lot on trauma, both psychological and physical. Both of these things have a lot of pertinence to emergency nursing.

WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A FLIGHT NURSE?

In flight, I have to collaborate with others who also are very alpha-type personalities, and it requires a fine dance of give and take. I love this dance – I love constantly being pushed to learn and improve. Static is boring. Dynamic is fun! Being a flight nurse means constantly evolving and working at the top of my capabilities. I couldn’t imagine anything else. The combination of adrenaline and brains is music.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO PENN COLLEGE?

Penn College is known for delivering degrees that work. My education hasn’t failed me. When all else has failed me or let me down, I knew I could always count on that. Between the relationships I had made during my time there, the experiences I had, to the theories and foundations I had, never once did I leave wondering if I was prepared. I went into my licensure exam knowing I was ready.

Real-World Ready

"Anyone can pay a college to push them through. But ask yourself, when it comes time to go to the emergency department or have a flight nurse come to you in your worst moments, do you want the one who was shoved through a program or one who was forced to work for it? Be the nurse who wants to see the patient get better, and look for a program that will make you think, challenge you to grow, and inspire you to be the best. Penn College is that program."

Stephanie Suzadail

Real-World Ready
Stronger through adversity

Stronger through adversity

While she was a student, Stephanie was in car accident and suffered a head injury, causing several neurological issues. Thankfully, she was never in it alone at Penn College.

"I wasn’t given anything I didn’t earn, but my instructors and advisers worked with me so I didn’t have to drop out of school. That means something. My faculty saw my potential. They weren’t easy on me, but they were supportive. I never would’ve gotten to graduation, my first job, my master’s degree with an almost 4.0 GPA, and then my dream job without the faculty who pushed me past my limits – who stayed there in my life as a support system when I wanted to give up. Penn College nursing faculty are not just paid to teach, they get invested in your success when sometimes you can’t see it in yourself."

Guaranteed Momentum
Rewarding experiences

Rewarding experiences

As a student, Stephanie was selected for an exclusive summer nursing externship at the Mayo Clinic. This 10-week experience in the Emergency Trauma/General Surgery unit confirmed her interest in emergency nursing. Stephanie got hands-on experience conducting a wide range of patient assessments while observing the surgical intensive care unit and shadowing a trauma nurse practitioner.

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