Four Goshen College nursing graduates have moms who also graduated from GC with nursing degrees. From left are are Naomi Rice Smucker and (seated) Becky Rice Smucker, Jennifer Buchholz and Mary (Reber) Hostetler, Rachel Nofziger and Lori (Hollenberg) Bontrager, and Lydia Weisel and Cynthia (Cooke) Weisel.

Nursing isn’t just a profession for four women graduating from Goshen College today. It’s a family tradition.

Naomi Rice Smucker, Jennifer Buchholz, Lydia Weisel and Rachel Nofziger will each receive a nursing degree from GC this afternoon — just as their mothers did more than two decades ago.

“I got a little teary when she got her (nursing) pin,” Naomi’s mother, Becky Rice Smucker, said following the nurses’ pin ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The Goshen mother and daughter recalled how Naomi had expressed interest in being a nurse since she was little.

“She used to say to me, ‘Your hands smell so good,’ but it was from the gloves I wore all day,” Becky recalled. (Naomi, however, said she can’t remember saying such a thing.)

While Naomi said she was likely influenced by having a mom as a nurse, “It was my decision to become a nurse,” she said.

Becky never pushed advice on Naomi about nursing, but she said she did tell her daughter that nursing provides a lot of flexibility, which is a great thing to have in a job.

One of the biggest changes in nursing that Becky has seen over the years is how nurses and patients interact.

“It used to be nurses weren’t encouraged to laugh or cry with their patients. Now we do,” she said.

Becky, a 1977 GC graduate, has been a nurse at Goshen General Hospital for 14 years. Naomi will be starting her career as a nurse at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, in July. She will work in critical care.

With both parents working as nurses, nursing might seem the obvious career choice for Goshen resident Jennifer Buchholz. However, she actually got a psychology degree before deciding nursing was her calling.

With her nursing degree in hand today, she can’t wait to begin her first day as a nurse — June 13 — at Elkhart General Hospital in the critical care unit.

“I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait to start working in the field,” she said.

Jennifer’s mom, Mary (Reber) Hostetler, GC Class of ’75, is a neo-natal nurse practitioner at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in North Carolina. Jennifer said her mom has had a tremendous impact on her life.

“My whole life she has modeled what I want to be like as a nurse,” Jennifer said. She said she hopes to have the compassion and bedside manner that her mother has had throughout her career.

“It’s a wonderful profession,” Mary said. She said she enjoys the patient contact and “knowing that you touched a life in a good way.”

Lydia Weisel will be moving back to Illinois to begin her nursing career. Her mother, Cynthia (Cooke) Weisel, Class of ’82, coordinates home care for patients just getting out of the hospital.

Lydia will be a nurse on the medical/surgical floor of a hospital about an hour from where her mom lives.

For Lydia, being a nurse was something she wanted to do since she was a young girl. She looks forward to nursing because it will provide her with a way to help the patients and their families.

The advice her mom gave her?

“She is always saying, ‘It will be OK., Lydia,” she said.

Lydia said it is helpful knowing that her mom went though many of the same things she has when starting out in her career.

Mom Cynthia said that one of the things that is different now than when she was a nursing student at GC, is that students start doing the actual hands-on nursing work earlier than they use to.

Rachel Nofziger started out as a vocal performance major at another college and also considered medical school, but in the end nursing won out.

Her mom, GC Class of ’78 member Lori (Hollenberg) Bontrager, Archbold, Ohio, said that while she wasn’t certain her daughter would choose nursing, “I wasn’t surprised.”

“I felt it was a good match for her personality,” Lori said.

While Lori is no longer a practicing nurse, “once you are a nurse, you are always a nurse,” she said.

Rachel is looking forward to beginning her nursing career in the neuro intensive care unit at the University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, on June 11.

“I’m excited,” Rachel said, adding that she hopes that she will be able to sing opera and continue with her vocal performance as well as be a nurse.

Lori said she was surprised to learn that nursing students don’t do as many procedures on each other as they used to. She said seeing her daughter ready to join the nursing professional has reawakened her own interest in the field.

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