Alumni Issue: Kayla Vlassich

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 6:34 PM

Many of us like to believe that we are in the toughest, most competitive program on campus. But with so many diverse fields of study, it’s likely that each has its specialized challenges. If you ask Kayla Vlassich, she will tell you about her experience in the nursing program, as well as her real-life experiences as a nurse.  

“The nursing program taught me how hard you have to work to get [to] where you want to be. Even after college, nothing will ever be handed to you,” the 2016 Edinboro alumna said. Vlassich has spent the last three years as a working nurse in Pittsburgh and is now currently in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  

Between having an uncertain schedule of working 12-14 hour shifts, working overnight, moving down the east coast, and having her husband being stationed in Germany for the last 3 months, Vlassich still finds ways to care for patients. She stressed that it was both Edinboro and real world work that turned her into a fully-rounded professional. 

“No amount of studying or reading books can teach you how to be there for somebody during some of the happiest or saddest times of their lives. There’s no way to teach somebody how to be compassionate,” she said.

Although nursing can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly difficult. “There’s nothing you can learn in school that will prepare you, not to be too morbid, for the loss of your first patient. They can teach you everything you need to know about being a nurse in class, but nothing can prepare you for caring for your patient. For example, what do you do when a mother loses her baby? No one can teach you that aspect of nursing,” she said.  

Vlassich needed to use all of these skills in her work at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, as well as her current place of work, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. She’s worked in an obstetrical fellowship, the postpartum unit and is currently in family centered care. Family centered care works with antepartum and postpartum care, along with having a transitional nursery.  

For those of us not in the medical profession, antepartum is the period shortly before childbirth, obstetrical is relating to childbirth and the processes associated with it, and postpartum is related to the time after childbirth.  

Even though nursing can be tough, Vlassich said there are really great things that happen on the job as well. She has the opportunity to help women in the first stages of taking care of their first child; she gets to help new babies learn to eat and get to know their new mothers; and she also helps with the process of newborns transitioning from withdrawing to being healthy and happy.  

The real world of nursing may not be as glamorous as TV or reality shows can make it seem, but Vlassich makes it seem like it’s definitely worthwhile.  

Find our alumni special issue on Homecoming morning at local businesses. It includes additional interviews with former Fighting Scots.

Samantha Schaupp can be reached at

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