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The Path to Becoming the Best Nurse at Mount Union

February 09, 2024

By Fatima Magana '22

ALLIANCE- “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that we have all been asked by adults in our lives, and a question we answer with a dream career. My dream career was a teacher, but Hayden Graffice ’25, nursing major, has always wanted to become a nurse.

An Alliance native, Graffice has grown up around both the University of Mount Union and nurses, as her mom is a nurse and her older sister also studied in Mount Union’s nursing program. When looking at colleges and universities, Graffice knew that she wanted to stay close to home, making Mount Union one of her top schools.

Graffice '25, nursing student receiving white coat

Graffice '25 after receiving her white coat

“Hearing about Mount Union’s nursing program through my sister’s experience helped me envision myself as a student here as well as knowing that the program was direct entry, which not many schools offer,” said Graffice.

Graffice has always had a passion for helping others and being a nurse allows her to help people of all walks of life. Though growing up around family members in the medical field, she explains that her grandmother’s stroke treatment solidified her choice to become the nurse who tends to patients with the same care her grandmother received.

Nursing students at clinical

Graffice '25 (far right) and a group of friends at clinicals

“The nursing program at Mount Union offers students many hands-on experiences while allowing us to work on our own time, such as gaining communication skills through patient interactions, and learning about imaging, postpartum, and c-section births,” said Graffice.

Describing her growth as a Purple Raider nurse as challenging and rewarding, Graffice explains that she is grateful for the networking and hands-on opportunities she has received at Mount Union. Not many people get to meet experts in the field and go out into the real world to hone in-class concepts while continuing to build their skillsets as nurses. Graffice, however, can with the help of faculty from our nursing program.

“My advisor, Perri Concialdi, has helped me plan my academic career as a nursing student while mapping out what my career as a nurse after graduation will look like,” said Graffice. “Throughout my time as a student, I’ve made three good friends, Haleigh, Jenna, and Marissa, and we study, carpool to clinicals, and work on projects together.”

Although Graffice states that nursing school has been challenging, she is grateful for the friendships she has made which have helped her overcome anything she faces. Graffice adds that faculty in the nursing program encourage students to further their education, even after graduating from Mount Union; "I am always told 'never stop learning,'" said Graffice.

Graffice '25 and friends

Graffice '25 (left) and friends at their white coat ceremony

To learn more about the nursing program at Mount Union, schedule your opportunity to visit with the department on Tuesday, February 27 to meet faculty and current students like Hayden. Secure your spot for the upcoming visit at