Where are they now? Kaitley Wozer ’18N

Where are they now?
Kaitley Wozer ’18N

Answering the call to care

Kaitley Wozer ’18N

Kaitley Wozer ’18N

Since graduating from the University of Rochester (SON) in 2018, Kaitley Wozer ’18N has plunged into her career, moving back to serve her hometown community of Buffalo, New York as a labor and delivery nurse. While working, she’s also pursuing her doctor of nursing (DNP) practice degree.

As a student, Wozer was the recipient of the McLouth Scholarship, an award established in 2002 with a gift from the estate of School of Nursing supporter, Charles McLouth III, which provides scholarship assistance to nurses with high potential who need financial aid.

Scholarships are critical to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest students, ensuring that they not only can attend the SON, but that they can stay. Wozer’s story is just one of many that demonstrate scholarships can make all the difference to lift those who answer the call to care.

“I chose the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing because of its excellent reputation, overwhelmingly positive personal accounts from current and former students, and the ability to start my new career in nursing in such a short amount of time,” she says. “I appreciate every penny of my scholarship, and I can assure you that I will return that generosity in my own work.”

Here, Wozer gives an update and talks about her latest passions, pursuits, and personal growth.

How has your life changed since your graduation?

I graduated from the School of Nursing five years ago. That’s when I returned to my hometown to be with my family and started working at Buffalo General Medical Center on a med/surg/tele unit. I was there for two years, including the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. My SON education prepared me well and made my transition to practice smooth.

Now, I work at the nearby John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital as a labor and delivery nurse, where I assess and treat high-risk laboring patients, perform operating room circulation for cesarean sections, work in the obstetrics triage center, and evaluate and treat medical complications in the peripartum period. In my nursing experience, I have also practiced as a nurse preceptor, oriented new nurses, and served as a charge nurse on my units.

In the last few years, I also got married and had my first baby, who is now 13 months old! 

In what ways have you continued learning?

In the fall of 2020, I went back to school to pursue my DNP degree at the University at Buffalo in the Family Nurse Practitioner program with the desire to provide care across the lifespan. I am halfway through my program and about to start my clinical rotations with expected graduation in May of 2025. I am in school part-time so that I can continue working at the job I love in the hospital while studying.

I have also really enjoyed my role as a graduate assistant, where I work with undergraduate nursing students to teach them clinical skills in the laboratory setting. I also assist with simulation exercises in med/surg, pediatrics, obstetrics, and end-of-life care by running scenarios and leading debriefing sessions. I love guiding the undergraduate nursing students, because it brings me back to my time at SON, where clinical simulation scenarios greatly enhanced my learning and our clinical skills labs set the foundation of my nursing skills that I use every day at the hospital. I feel privileged to contribute to the education of my future coworkers and people who will care for those in my community.

What I find the most rewarding in the field of nursing is no profound revelation; quite simply, the greatest reward in this challenging profession is knowing you made someone’s day a little bit easier by caring for them.

What is something you’ve learned in the last few years about yourself?

I have always known that I’m someone with too many interests for my own good—so I thought. When I switched from my former career path in virology research to nursing, I was nervous that I would just want to switch to follow some other passion in a few years.

What I have realized now in is that nursing is the perfect field for someone like me who has many interests and passions. If you discover an area that interests you, you can switch specialties without requiring another degree. If you want to increase your depth of knowledge within your specialty, you can go on and receive a nursing certification or attend continuing education seminars, which are in abundance. If you want to teach, you can do so at the bedside with your patients, you can precept new nurses, or earn another degree in nursing education. If you find you like to lead and manage, you can become a nurse manager, a charge nurse, or the head of a committee at your hospital. If you like research, you can conduct quality improvement research projects right on your unit without switching jobs or earning another degree or go back to school for your PhD or DNP in nursing. If you want to change the level at which you provide care, you can go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

I plan to continue working as a labor and delivery nurse and continue teaching in the undergraduate nursing program. Once I graduate, I hope to work in an outpatient women’s health clinic. Eventually, I also want to teach in undergraduate and graduate-level nursing programs.

What do you find most rewarding about being a nurse?

I see nursing as the most rewarding profession there is. When you have the heart for it, nursing allows you to give every cell of your being to caring for others, which fills you with joy, fulfillment, and breathes life back into your tired body at the end of a shift. Nursing asks you to think critically, collaborate with other health care professionals to solve problems, and to be the eyes, ears, nose, and hands at the bedside.

Support a deserving scholar

To learn how you can help current and future nursing students realize their academic dreams and potential, contact Andrea Allen, Senior Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at the School of Nursing, at (585) 276.4336 or give online at uofr.us/SONgiving.

— Emily Gillette, April 2023