For Nicholaus Huff, his journey to becoming a Marymount University Nursing student is intertwined with a love story.
“I first became interested in nursing when I met the woman who would become my future wife, Rachael,” Huff explained. “She is a nurse and her stories of the experiences she had inspired me to consider health care as a career.”
Huff and Rachael eventually married, and his interest in the medical field never faltered. He began his career as an EMT for a medical transport company, and it was in that role that he began to see for himself the excitement and meaningful connection to patients that his wife had described.
“I enjoyed interacting with patients during transports, but I wanted to do more to care for them, so I began considering nursing as a career,” Huff said. “I was really drawn to this profession by the combination of helping people in a tangible way, interacting with people and science. These three things combined create a mentally and socially stimulating environment where I feel that I can truly make a difference in someone’s life.”
In search of an accelerated program to achieve his goal, Huff was drawn to Marymount’s Nursing program — which offers students with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree in 16 months.
Huff is now a member of the Marymount Class of 2021, and is set to graduate after a challenging final year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to his Nursing professors, Huff continued to shine through adversity.
“Mr. Huff’s spirit of inquiry and interest during class was simply a joy,” said Dr. Judith Rogers Fruiterman, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Marymount University. “He consistently demonstrated enthusiasm and diligence for his studies.”
As Marymount successfully implemented hybrid learning, some in-person courses pivoted to an online format. For Huff, this meant virtual learning at his home shared by his wife and six children, with ages ranging from one to 12 years old. Additionally, the couple is expecting another child in December.
As a parent and a student, Huff admits it can be stressful trying to balance coursework and family time while still striving to do well in all aspects.
“During the pandemic, I had to learn how to block out distractions while studying, but my kids were always a welcome interruption during lectures,” Huff explained. “I was grateful for the extra time at home that I would have spent driving under normal circumstances.”
“It was evident to all that he embraced his beautiful family with gusto! We did all marvel at how he balanced so much with the seeming ease and grace that he demonstrated and with the success that he achieved,” Dr. Rogers Fruiterman added.
Huff looks forward to joining his wife in the nursing career field after graduating from Marymount on May 14 in the Commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Education.
“The faculty at Marymount have done an incredible job of priming me to begin the next phase of lifelong learning that will begin when I start working as a nurse,” Huff said. “There is no higher calling in life than to give of ourselves to serve others.”