We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Misti Heagy ’23
Student, Associate of Science in Nursing program
A registered nurse at Women’s Place in Lititz became Misti Heagy’s health care hero during the birth of her third child. Her new son had two holes in his heart and the family didn’t know if he would require immediate surgery after birth or if he would heal on his own. Misti explains: “Aside from easing my fears of what was to come, my nurse was fully prepared and calm while I worried. While I was laboring, my son’s heart rate dropped drastically, and she flew in the room and rushed into action. My healthy baby boy was born two minutes later – thanks to her knowledge, coaching and passion. I will never forget what she did for me that day.”
Last year, when another life-changing event prompted her to reconsider her career path, Misti decided to become a nurse. This was no small decision, but with the support of her husband, she liquidated the business she had run for the past ten years and enrolled in PA College. In addition to the inspiring example of the Women’s Place nurse, Misti was tapping into her childhood dreams of becoming an OB/GYN, as well as a subsequent interest in midwifery. She has since come to realize that her true passion is for the babies. She hopes to work in Labor and Delivery or the NICU after earning her degree while continuing her education toward her ultimate goal of becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Misti shares: “My hope is to provide excellent care to newborns in need of extra special attention. I hope to be able to put parents’ and loved ones’ minds at ease and earn their trust while working to preserve and enhance the lives of our smallest and most delicate population.”
In addition to positive recommendations from nurse friends, Misti chose PA College because she could utilize her military veteran benefits to help finance her education. During her eighteen years of service in the U.S. Army, she moved up through the ranks, training as a Combat Medic, Mortuary Affairs Specialist and Human Resources Specialist, among other roles and responsibilities. Misti is also a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2008-09).
Misti lives with her husband and their five children (and two ‘fur babies’) in Shaefferstown, PA. She works hard to balance her military commitment with school and her personal life. She’s a Disney marathoner, and when not studying is busy running and cross-training in preparation for several races in fall 2022. Misti’s husband is training for his first mixed martial arts fight and their children are involved in softball, drums, boxing and soccer. As a family, they enjoy Taco Tuesday, family night on Fridays, time on their boat and playing the video game, Fortnite.
Donovan Carper ’02, MSN, RN, NHA, CPT
Nursing Home Administrator, Moravian Manor
Alumnus Donovan Carper ’02 knows first-hand how vulnerable retirement communities have been during the coronavirus pandemic. In spring 2020, as then-Director of Nursing at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA, Donovan and his colleagues quickly shifted their focus away from rehabilitation services to COVID-19 prevention. Their standout early success prompted inquiries from Center for Disease Control staff who visited Moravian Manor to gain input on their own regulation formatting and communications, as well as the challenges of preventing COVID in long term care settings.
Donovan earning his nursing diploma from the Lancaster Institute for Health Education (now PA College) in 2002. This experience was a critical foundation for his continuing education at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels and formed a trajectory of professional success. Promoted to the role of Nursing Home Administrator in April 2021, Donovan is proud that Moravian Manor became one of the first local facilities to be integrated into the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Preferred Provider Network. As the impact of the pandemic becomes less severe there, Moravian Manor is renewing their focus on rehabilitation outcomes. Donovan and his current Director of Nursing spoke about their rehab experiences and strategies at a conference hosted by Kairos last year.
Donovan also has a blog where he evaluates evidence behind current trends for stress management, nutrition and other non-pharmacologic approaches to common chronic ailments. This pursuit led to his meeting Dr. Shavkat Ruziev, founder of Lancaster Wellness, which focuses on preventive medicine and holistic medicine which combines pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions for the treatment of depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Donovan has since obtained his personal trainer certification to work with clients of Lancaster Wellness.
When asked what advice he would give to today’s students, Donovan shares: “Stay humble! Most nurse leaders dislike giving critical feedback. Yet feedback both positive and negative is essential. None of us are perfect, we all have things we need to improve upon. And like any coach, our leaders and instructors sometimes need to point these things out to us. I thank God for the nurse leaders and instructors who have given me feedback over the years—some of which at the time I found upsetting but upon reflection, held some truths. Reflect, stay humble, always be willing to learn and improve. Life gets boring if you stay the same and stagnate!”
Donovan lives in Cornwall, PA. In addition to pursuing health coaching and personal training in his free time, he strives to reserve one day per week for dedicated family time, reading and relaxing.
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!