Believe you can – A nursing story

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Ten years ago, at age 31, starting nursing school was possibly the furthest thing on Mellisa Lathion’s mind. She had an eight-month-old daughter and had just started working for Beacon as a breastfeeding peer counselor at the St. Joseph County WIC office, sponsored by Memorial Hospital. She was a WIC mom herself. “From the time I started working at WIC, I got involved with things at the hospital,” Mellisa said. “If you raise a hand and want to get involved, there are so many opportunities — nobody turns you away.”

With the strong encouragement from several mentors at Memorial, Mellisa began to consider a career in nursing. She needed to go back to school, and she didn’t waste any time working toward her new goal of becoming a nurse. She started by completing her prerequisite classes at IVY Tech while working at WIC, then she was accepted into the nursing program at Bethel University in 2014. Mellisa earned her associate’s degree in Nursing in 2016, then received her registered nurse credential that same year. She also started a full-time job in patient care on the Mother-Baby unit.

But she didn’t stop there — she completed a bachelor of science in nursing in 2018 and transitioned to a nurse educator role for Mother-Baby in 2019. And, with the generous support of donors toward Nursing Education at Beacon, Mellisa has completed coursework for a master’s degree in nursing from Bethel University and will graduate in May. “What I’ve found being in this nurse educator role is that I’m able to blend all of my passions: a passion for nursing and caring for others, but also teaching others and helping them along the way,” Mellisa said. She can’t imagine working outside of the “moms and babies world” and takes pride in the fact that Beacon nurses are always seeking to do more for patients and their families.

“We should feel very honored and humbled to do the work that we do with our patients,” Mellisa said. “We care for them in their most vulnerable moments, when they are the weakest, and we have the opportunity to help them find their strengths and get them on their path to healing so they have a better quality of life.” Mellisa’s advice for new nurses or anyone thinking about pursuing a career in nursing? “Don’t stop asking questions — that’s what’s gotten me to where I’m at now. And don’t underestimate what you’re capable of accomplishing. You can go really far, really fast!”

“I’m here to ensure our patients receive the highest quality of care and that they are treated with the love and respect that they deserve.” – Mellisa Lathion, MSN(c), RN, IBCLC, RNC-MNN, Memorial Hospital

Building the Beacon Nurse

The generous support of our donors provides Beacon nurses the opportunity to achieve their dreams by furthering their education. Scholarship gifts are often made in gratitude for exceptional care received, a way to give back to those who made a difference in a donor’s life. Through this giving spirit, our nurses can keep their skills at their utmost and our patients benefit by receiving outstanding medical care. Through the Beacon Health Foundation, over $200,000 in nursing scholarships is given each year to deserving individuals.

Story by: Laura Bailey

Story date: 06/2021