Skip to main content

Nursing Grad Continues Family Healthcare Tradition

Emily Watson pin
Emily Watson receives a nursing pin from her mother.

Spring nursing graduate Emily Watson is continuing a family tradition of healthcare service. Her grandfather was the first and only anesthesia resident at St. Anthony Hospital in the early 1950s. Her grandmother graduated from St. Anthony Hospital School of Nursing in 1952. Her mother graduated from the same St. Anthony Hospital school and her aunt graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Nursing, both in 1982.

The St. Anthony Hospital School of Nursing became affiliated with OCU the year after her mother graduated, which essentially makes Watson the third generation to graduate from the same program.

Watson earned a full-ride scholarship to OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing in 2013. Her thoughts on her experience with the program and her chosen career path are captured in the following Q&A exchange:

Aside from following the family tradition, why did you choose nursing as a career?

I have always wanted to help people. I love talking to people and trying to figure out what is wrong with them. I would be lying if I didn’t say something about job stability, but after I started taking classes, I quickly realized that nursing is truly something I am passionate about.

How old were you when you chose your career? Were there ever any other possibilities?

I don’t know if there was a particular age (but I made the decision my senior year of high school for sure). From a young age, I would play hospital with my mom’s leftover home health supplies and I would fix my dolls “owies.” And then of course, I wanted to be a pastor just like my dad (OCU BA Religion ’85), but I was going to be a cool pastor with a snow cone machine and swimming pool in the church (that dream quickly died after my dad informed me that a church could not have a swimming pool inside). I think at one point I was also considering to be some kind of animal trainer at the zoo. The only other serious career choice I was considering was becoming a band director. My high school band director was amazing! He pushed me to be the best person and player I could be, and thanks to him, I was a very successful French horn player. He made me truly appreciate music. I remember when I told him I turned down a full-ride scholarship to East Central University provided by the music department to pursue nursing at OCU, he was not very happy with me. He just told me that I was giving up on a gift and that I would be doing myself and others an injustice if I didn’t continue playing past high school. The unhappiness was short lived, of course, and he supported me in my choice to become a nurse, but it was still a very tough choice to make.  

What was the biggest challenge to graduating? Did your mother/aunt/other family member help as a “study buddy”?

The biggest challenge to graduating for me was nursing school itself. Nursing school is not easy (and I always laughed at my mom when she would tell me that, but it is 100 percent true). It is not for a faint of heart, and in order to succeed a support system that understands the time commitment is needed because I was studying ALL THE TIME! Lucky for me, I had my wonderful family, my sorority sisters, and my nursing school friends who would support me and tell me when I needed a much-deserved night off. As far as a study buddy, I would call my mom while I was doing my clinical paperwork and ask her questions about my clients (without violating HIPAA of course). I would ask her opinion on a Nursing Diagnosis or I would just ask her what she would do in that clinical situation. I would never study with her, because policies, regulations, and techniques are always changing. Sometimes I would explain how we learned something and my mom would say “Well that’s not how I learned it in nursing school.” So, she did not always make a great study buddy.  

Do you already have a job (or I’m sure in your situation, a list of places that can’t wait to hire you)?

I do already have a job! I just recently accepted a job as an RN at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany. I originally applied for a nurse tech position that would transition into a RN position (I was wanting something to get me through the summer before I got my RN license, plus I was told that training would be easier and quicker for me if I had a tech job first), but the center offered me both the tech position and a separate RN position. I had two sets of clincicals at this facility and I absolutely loved my time at the center! The staff are amazing, but the kids are even better! 

I understand the pin from the pinning ceremony had some significance – could you share that? So the pin was my MiMi’s (maternal grandmother Joy Richards Hamburger) pin from when she graduated from St. Anthony school of nursing in 1952. My mom (Lisa Hamburger Watson) graduated from the same program in 1982 and my aunt (Lynn Hamburger Beam) graduated from OU school of nursing in 1982 (both 30 years after my MiMi/their mom). The St. Anthony School of Nursing was a diploma program, and in the 1980s asked OCU to take over their program and thus became known as the Kramer School of Nursing. I graduated in 2017 (35 years after my mom, and 65 years after my MiMi). Technically, I have graduated from the same nursing school as both my MiMi and my mom (if you want to think of it that way, since OCU took over the program; a very loose technicality), and that makes me the third-generation nurse in the family. Also my MiMi passed away in 2002, so the pin lets me hold a small piece of her with me.