We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Helen Onyeulo ’22
Student, Associate of Science in Nursing program
After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Benin in Benin City, Nigeria where she grew up, Helen Onyeulo began her professional career as a project administrator for African Farming Project, followed by several other managerial roles. In 2012, she came to the United States and shifted her focus to health care, working at Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Home in York, PA after becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. Today, Helen works at Wellspan York Hospital as a Nursing Assistant with the Nursing Resource Team (NRT). “Being on the NRT exposed me to various nursing units ranging from the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, Medical and Surgical Unit, Behavioral Health Unit and so on,” she shares.
Now enrolled in our Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program, Helen is proud to be following in the footsteps of her health care hero – her mother, Grace Onaiwu. Grace is a retired nurse, having worked at both the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Uselu Psychiatric Hospital in Benin City. Helen’s decision to enroll in PA College was prompted by the positive example of friends who are graduates and accomplished nurses, as well as her husband, Ugochukwu Prince Onyeulo, who graduated from our ASN program in May 2021 and is now working as an RN with Wellspan Behavioral Health. Helen adds: “I admire the fact that this is a health care-focused college, where resources are limitless since you can literally get help from anyone on the campus.”
Several years ago, Helen’s cousin, a healthy 30-year-old man with no medical history, suffered cardiac arrest and passed away before help could arrive. This tragedy shaped her decision to become an ICU nurse focusing on open heart/cardiac nursing. Looking forward to her future career, when she can make a difference during a time of unprecedented need, Helen notes: “As a nurse, I will advocate for the health care professional while providing care to patients in their most compromised state.”
Helen and her husband are the parents to three boys – ten-year-old twins and a nine-year old. During her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading contemporary African literature and traveling to historical sites.
Walter Daily, RN ’02 and Stacey Daily, RN ’00
Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center
Husband and wife Walter and Stacey Daily began their nursing careers in a similar way – graduating two years apart from (now) PA College, followed by work the Emergency Department of Lancaster General Hospital. They both later pursued travel nursing, exploring the country through various roles in emergency care. For the past 17 years, they have lived just outside of San Francisco and both work at Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center.
Stacey describes herself as a “Jack of all trades” nurse – working in various departments including gastroenterology, cardiology, interventional radiology, Nuclear Medicine and CT. She shares: “I love the opportunities I’ve had as a nurse. I would have never been able to travel and see the country and meet so many wonderful people without my nursing profession. I have also had the opportunity over the last few years to work as a substitute school nurse for our community. I’ve always been a nurse working in acute care in the hospital setting so being able to help students in the local schools has been a way for me to give back to the community.”
Walter is an RN Service Unit Manger over the surgical specialties departments. He coordinates the work of advanced practice RNs working in extended roles with focus on wound and ostomy care along with support to surgeons, physician assistants, LVN’s, medical assistants and cashier/receptionists. They perform numerous procedures short of sedation to help decompress OR booked rooms. Walter shares: “My previous work as a frontline RN allowed me to directly affect the lives of people in the community and understand all roles in the health care continuum. Both helped prepare me for a management career, which has also expanded my ability to positive affect patient outcomes and help to mentor and support other practitioners in their career advancement.”
We also asked Stacey and Walter to respond to a few questions:
How do you try to make the world a better place through your work?
Stacey: “I’ve always treated people the way that I would like to be treated. We meet people every day who are at some of their most vulnerable times in life. They are scared, nervous, anxious and I always try to treat everyone with kindness and compassion. I feel like I make special bonds with my patients. I love that feeling and hopefully I’ve helped to make a difference.”
Walter: “In my role I have direct oversight of practice modalities and workflows. I help to mentor, educate and implement these modalities creating a more efficient practice without sacrificing quality and service. Helping to get patients to the right resource at the right time assists in positive patient outcomes and throughput efficiency. Our patients feel heard and believe that we value their time and spend it on their care.”
What advice would you give our students?
Stacey: “Be humble, be kind, be a sponge and soak up every learning experience you can. We not only learn from our mentors but from our patients as well. Listen, be an advocate for your patients, stand up for what is right and be true to yourself.”
Walter: “Never forget relationships; without effective working relationships and a team approach to health care things will be difficult. At times we are challenged to do more with less in the health care world, and by creating effective working teams, the job can be done well and produce high quality patient outcomes. As for learning, quite simply every new challenge is an opportunity to learn that will continually expand upon your knowledge base setting you up for success in the future.”
During their free time, Stacey and Walter enjoy camping, hiking and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors – “it’s healing for the soul,” Stacey adds. Walter also enjoys cooking and learning about the advanced sciences, physics, space exploration, geology and other earth and space sciences.
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!