Ashland University helps prepare Mansfield woman for nursing career and premature triplets
While nothing could really prepare Brooke Larson for having triplets, her time at Ashland University helped quite a bit.
First, she met someone when she was at AU who is playing a very important role with her daughter and two sons who were born in December.
“While in nursing school, I met a really good friend, Claire, and we went to eat at the old Buffalo Wild Wings right next to the college,” Larson said. “She had posted it on Facebook that she was going, and a friend of hers said that he was coming with a friend of his. Needless to say, her friend’s friend is now my husband.”
Besides meeting her husband while at AU, Larson said the university provided her with a top-notch education to have a successful nursing career and become the well-rounded nurse she is today.
“Graduating from the Ashland University College of Nursing set me up for a stable future for myself and family,” said Larson, who graduated in 2016.
Larson works part time as a flex nurse for OhioHealth on different floors among five hospitals in Delaware, Hardin, Marion and Richland counties.
Before giving birth, Larson also worked as a travel nurse.
With her babies at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Larson has been staying at a nearby Ronald McDonald house. Her husband, Chris, who didn’t attend AU, is at their home in Mansfield when he isn’t with her and the babies. He works in Shelby at AcerlorMittal, which manufactures steel tubing.
As a Christmas gift, Larson said nurses at Nationwide Children’s Hospital organized for her to hold all her babies for a photo.
Considering the triplets were born premature at 30 weeks on Dec. 15 at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Larson said they are doing well.
“My daughter Dixie sailed through learning how to regulate her temperature, breathe without oxygen and eat on her own,” Larson said. “The boys are just a little behind. My son Crew is working on feeding as well as his oxygen. My son Barrett is working on eating. But they are all doing phenomenal for their gestational age.”
Having trouble conceiving naturally for about two years after their 2018 marriage, the couple opted for fertility help.
To help ease the financial burden of going that route, Larson returned to a staff nursing job in 2020 with her flex nursing position to add to the travel nursing she started in 2019. She said she appreciated how the nurse managers at both jobs accommodated her schedule and pregnancy to make it work.
Larson said she would love to return to travel nursing someday.
“I would love to travel in the future because it brightens my perspective as a nurse by learning different things,” she said. “Every facility I’ve ever worked at does things differently. It makes me a well-versed nurse.
“And not only is the experience great, but I have met a lot of patients and co-workers who I couldn’t speak more highly of working all over the state of Ohio,” she added. “I have met patients from all different walks of life and that is probably my favorite part about travel nursing.”
One of her nursing professors, Juanita Reese Kline, isn’t surprised at how well Larson’s career has gone since she graduated from AU.
“Brooke was certainly a pleasure to work with as a student,” Reese Kline said. “She was curious and enthusiastic about learning while she was enrolled in our BSN traditional nursing program. As a student, she demonstrated the ICARE values of our College of Nursing & Health Sciences – Integrity, Caring, Accountability, Respect and Excellence.”
From the time she saw the compassion of home health care nurses taking care of her grandfather, who was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was in fifth grade, Larson said she wanted to be a nurse.
Not only did she choose AU because she had heard it had a good nursing program, but also because it was close to her home in Butler where she graduated from Fredericktown High School.
And Ashland University can prepare you for whatever life brings like being a working mom with triplets. So, for anyone thinking about college, Larson recommends AU, particularly for its nursing program.
“Ashland University offered the bachelor’s degree, which was definitely something I wanted,” Larson said. “It was a well-structured program with very high passing rates for NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination for nurses).
“The welcoming culture Ashland embraced was evident throughout the main campus, as well as the nursing campus,” she added.