We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Tiffany Weinsheimer ‘23
When Tiffany Weinsheimer decided to continue her nursing education, she needed a program that would fit her busy schedule – which includes working full-time and raising a family. She enrolled in our evening & weekend Associate of Science in Nursing program and is on track to earn her degree in May 2023. Tiffany appreciates the flexibility that PA College offers her and notes that her faculty’s varied backgrounds and approaches to teaching have resulted in excellent learning experiences. Her mother, Lynn Balmer, RN also helped Tiffany get to where she is today. “My mom was a nurse for 41 years,” explains Tiffany. “She has taught me a lot about being patient and accepting of others. Growing up with a mother as a nurse has inspired me to continue to learn and become a great nurse.”
Twenty-one years ago, Tiffany began her career in health care, passing out ice pitchers to the residents of Moravian Manor Communities in Lititz, PA. Since that time, she first became a Certified Nursing Assistant there, and later earned her Licensed Practical Nurse credentials. Recently, Tiffany also became certified as a dementia practitioner. Of this long-standing commitment to the geriatric population, she notes: “I would like to help them to live their final years as pleasantly and comfortably as possible.” Yet, Tiffany may also consider working in other areas once she becomes an RN. She shares: “I also enjoy orthopedics and rehab. Being able to see the patients get better is a great feeling. I hope that presently and, in the future, I am able to assist in helping patients to reach their full potential in health.” A recent honor will help Tiffany reach her goals. She is a recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania, which recognizes academic achievement, leadership potential, community service and personal commitment to the profession of nursing.
Tiffany is married to her high school sweetheart of 24 years, and they have three beautiful children. She is grateful for her family, who support her throughout her education and career.
Erin Spohn ’21, MHA, RHIA, CHPS
Assistant Privacy Officer, Penn Medicine
As a full-time working mother of three, Erin Spohn ’21 knew she needed to choose a graduate program wisely. She enrolled in our Master of Healthcare Administration program and after earning her degree, was promoted from Privacy Manager at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to Assistant Privacy Officer for Penn Medicine. In this role, Erin supports the commitment to protecting the privacy of personal information of patients, research subjects, faculty, staff, students and others in the community. “My degree from PA College has helped me to become a more effective leader, have a better understanding of health care delivery and facilitated my development of core competencies such as problem-solving, strategic thinking and innovation,” shares Erin. A recent accomplishment has been working with a core group of stakeholders to assess and ensure compliance with the 21st century Cures Act, a federal legislation mandate that is significantly impacting increased patient access to medical records.
Erin’s family share her deep-rooted passion for health care. Her late father, Charles “Charlie” Bortle, EdD, was a significant force in the paramedic community locally and in Philadelphia. Erin shares: “Little did I know that his wisdom, mirth and unwavering support for Emergency Medical Services would have such an impact on my future career choices. When I was younger, I would tag along with him and volunteer to ‘victim’ for EMS students acting as a live ‘dummy’ to be prodded, poked, tapped and listened to with stethoscopes while I explained how my ‘injuries’ occurred.” After Erin’s father lost his five-and-a-half-year battle with renal cell carcinoma in October 2017, the family generously established PA College’s first-ever paramedic program scholarship in his name. Read more about the Dr. Charles D. Bortle Memorial Paramedic Scholarship fund here.
Erin’s share this advice for current students: “First, let your passion drive your career and become an expert in whatever health care area you love. When you’ve had a hard day, bring yourself back to the reason why you choose health care in the first place. Second, practice flexibility. Health care is an ever-changing landscape due to technical advancements, ageing populations, changing disease patterns, new discoveries and political reforms and policy initiatives. Change can be challenging but if you can remain flexible, be proactive and commit to thriving in the midst of it all, you will be successful. Lastly, reach out and establish a mentor. Establishing supportive and encouraging relationships promotes personal and professional growth. Navigating health care does not come with a how-to-guide and having a great mentor can be invaluable.”
Born and raised in Lancaster, Erin is celebrating 18 years of marriage to her husband Brett this month. The couple have three children: Taylor, age 17, Brennan, age 13, and Logan, age 6. Erin volunteers with a local rescue fostering puppy mill dogs who are often in need of medical attention and a loving ‘furever’ home; currently Sheepa, a Newfoundland and Reece, a Pit Bull mix, live with the Spohns.
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!