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News Nursing: The Family Business

Nursing: The Family Business


Misty Wernsman and her three daughters show that passion runs in families.

It all started with one woman, Misty Wernsman, an RN in SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Misty grew up in Centralia and always knew she wanted to work in healthcare. When she was a teenager she decided that nursing was her career of choice, and upon graduating high school moved to Springfield, Illinois to attend St. Johns Hospital School of Nursing where she received her Diploma in Nursing.

Misty was working at St. Louis Children's Hospital when her husband and daughters moved back to Centralia in 1995. While she tried to commute, it proved to be too difficult with three girls under the age of six. After returning to Centralia she worked as a home health nurse as well as Director of Nursing at Bryan Manor for 10 years. In 2009 a friend, Kelly Alcorn, let her know of an open position in St. Mary's Hospital PACU.

"After a lot of consideration I took a leap of faith. I am so thankful I did. I have learned so much, and I probably would not have followed through on furthering my education," said Misty. In 2012 she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from McKendree University and will complete her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Family Nurse Practitioner in August from Maryville.

All the while, her three daughters sat back watching their mother work and decided that nursing was the right career for them too. Misty says that she didn't encourage or try to influence her daughters into becoming nurses, but she would talk with them a lot about what she did at work. When she worked at Bryan Manor she often took them with her stating, "they were always very comfortable in those environments."

Her daughter Rachael Wernsman, who has her BSN, said that, "Growing up watching my mom be a nurse helped encourage me to be in the nursing field. We have a very similar personality, so I wasn't surprised that I followed in her footsteps. I don't feel like she pushed us into the nursing field, but always encouraged us to be whatever we thought would make us happy."

Rachael works in the OB/Labor and Delivery Department at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital. Since she was a little girl she has loved everything about pregnancy and babies. "I love the adrenaline rush that comes with my job, and never knowing what is going to walk through the door," she said.

Misty's second daughter, Lexie Wernsman, has her Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) and will complete her BSN at SIUE in December. Lexie says that her mother didn't push her into nursing, "she exposed me by taking my sisters and I to work with her at Bryan Manor and the sixteen bed homes. She would tell me about what she did at work. She always told me to do something that made me happy and that I would enjoy long term."

Lexie works at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital as a nurse in the Telemetry/ICU Department and says that what made her want to enter the field was that she was always a very caring child. "I loved animals, especially dogs. I quickly realized I liked caring for others. I wanted a career that would challenge me and would allow me to help others."

Misty's third daughter, Maddie Wernsman has an ADN and is currently working on her BSN at SIUE. Maddie has a lot of the same encouraging words as her sisters, "My mom encouraged us to choose a career that we loved and enjoyed. I remember when I was little I would visit her when she worked at a home for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is when I got my first-hand glimpse of what it was like to care for others and knew that nursing was a career I would love."

Maddie currently works at SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital as a nurse in Inpatient Rehabilitation. Her caring nature is what made her want to enter the nursing field, "My ultimate goal is to continue on to become a nurse practitioner and follow in my mom's footsteps."

Misty is proud of her girls for following their dreams and entering a field that they love, "I am honored that they wanted to follow in my footsteps. I like to think I had some influence on them, but I believe that most people who go into nursing just truly have a special personality and caring spirit."

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital and SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital are proud to have you and your caring family working throughout our hospitals. Thank you for all of your hard and dedicated work!