People of PA College: February 2019 Edition

by Karen Jenkins February 15, 2019

People of PA College: February 2019 Edition

We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:

Student Spotlight

Ryan Martin ’19

Three-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Ryan Martin ’19, a student in our three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, shared this quote from Gustave Flaubert, as he reflected on his ten years of service in the U.S. Navy. Working as a Submarine Nuclear Machinist and Laboratory Technician, Ryan’s military service gave him his first opportunities to travel the world and experience other cultures.  These experiences, for which Ryan is immensely appreciative, have sparked his desire to participate with humanitarian aid efforts as a nurse. He also looks forward to additional clinical time in the coming months to help give him some direction regarding other areas of interest within nursing, such as acute care. Ryan’s long-term goal is to continue his training and education to achieve advanced practice certification.

As a veteran in his mid-thirties, Ryan knew that a shift in his career path would set him back temporarily in the professional world. He points to the ability to complete his BSN degree in only three years, as the main initial draw to attend PA College, along with its convenient location and his prior familiarity with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. But today, shares Ryan, “The best part of the three-year BSN program has got to be my cohort of classmates, without whom I would be alone and afraid.  Each day I am motivated, inspired, and humbled by a classroom full of the most brilliant and caring young people that I have had the opportunity to know.” He adds, with a smile: “The instructors are pretty cool too, I guess.”

Ryan’s great loves are his family – Bailey, son Logan and two dogs, named Tucker and Jim Thorpe (although he notes, Jim can be hit or miss!) His love of travel recently took him to Utah for the first time, which he found awe-inspiring. Ryan looks forward to return visits to the American West after graduation. “If I had the chance and the resources, I would also be interested in taking up blacksmithing as a

hobby,” Ryan adds. His compassion for animals and love of travel also have taken Ryan and his family on volunteer trips to elephant and wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia over the past four years.

Ryan describes these experiences and the photo shared here: “That beautiful girl is named Tong Kwaw (Beautiful Orange Flower in Thai). The Asian elephant has a sad history of being used as farming equipment or a tourist draw, carrying people around on their backs or walking the streets of major tourist cities begging with their owners.  Human conflict has destroyed much of their wooded habitat and left land mines planted along borders that often injure the wild elephants.  The culture is changing and sanctuaries are being established to provide a safe environment free from labor and tourist gimmicks where they can just roam around with other elephants as they would in nature.  We can’t wait to go back again!”


Alumni Spotlight

Michael McMahon  MSN, RN, CEN, PHRN, EMT-P

Administrative Nursing Supervisor, Lancaster General Hospital

Michael McMahon ’08 ’11 began his career as a Paramedic with Lancaster EMS. Later, when he wanted to continue his education, he took pre-nursing classes at the encouragement of his mom, an LPN, and later earned his ASN degree from PA College in 2008. Continuing to work as a paramedic part time, Michael began working in an emergency and trauma department as a staff nurse. In the fall of 2009, Michael enrolled in the first-ever cohort of our RN to BSN program, completing that degree in 2011. Near the end of his bachelor’s program, Michael’s faculty advisor, Dr. Dee Minchhoff asked him where, not if he was going to graduate school. His choice was Loyola University New Orleans, where he earned a MSN with a concentration in nursing administration in 2013. Michael took on his first leadership position at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans as the operations coordinator in the emergency department.

In December of 2017, Michael accepted a new position at Lancaster General Hospital as a night shift administrative nursing supervisor. Still eager to learn, he is now also enrolled in Millersville University’s nurse practitioner program, which he hopes to complete in 2020. And yet, his educational pursuits have not only furthered his position with the hospital. Michael has also earned a post-Master’s degree in nursing education from Gardner Webb University. He has been teaching adjunct in the Lancaster Career and Technology Center Practical nursing program since 2011, and is also currently a part time adjunct instructor with PA College.

Reflecting on his career so far, Michael shares: “There are so many moments that I look back on with fondness, those patients I helped reach positive outcomes as an ER nurse and as a paramedic – some cases I will never forget. But truly the most shining moments I can recall are when a former student thanks you for helping them reach their goal. A nurse that I taught in her LPN program a few years ago recently thanked me for covering so much content in my emergency nursing series, which she was grateful for when delivered a baby while waiting for an ambulance…….her own baby! Teaching really gives you the ability to enhance your own career and to help others develop their own.”

Michael continues: “My education at PA College laid the groundwork for me to hit the ground running as a new graduate nurse in the emergency room and I attribute my success as a staff nurse to the endless opportunities to learn in the clinical setting with hands on practice. My BSN curriculum prepared me well for graduate school, I was familiar with APA guidelines, easily navigated discussion boards, and was well prepared for presentations to be given in group settings.”

Michael lives in West Lampeter Township, with four plants (in varying degrees of good health). He is the oldest of four children; his sister and mom are both nurses. Michael has twelve nieces and nephews who he adores, with two more coming this spring. He loves to travel; last year he visited Spain and the Caribbean and is looking forward to trips to Cuba this May, and to his favorite place, New Orleans, for Jazzfest in April. Michael adds another fun fact – “Many people would be surprised to find out I have driven a school bus part time, for 26 years this fall; a job I truly love.”

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!