York College student balances children, full-time job while in AGNP program
Cindy DiVito ’05 always envied the nurses at the University of Pennsylvania’s hospital as they delivered blood to support patients during surgeries. There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with treating patients—a satisfaction that she couldn’t achieve sitting behind the desk at the blood bank.
“I wanted to see what happens to the blood at the other end,” Cindy says. “As a medical technician, I was focused more on the laboratory aspects of the medical field, but watching them, I knew I wanted to be in patient care.”
Cindy began researching accelerated nursing programs to get her degree and found the perfect fit back home at York College of Pennsylvania. “York College has this great reputation,” Cindy says. “I knew I was in good hands.”
The program is a rigorous 18-month undertaking including classwork and clinical hours. Professors advise students that the program is a full-time commitment. Holding a steady job outside of the program is difficult. Still, Cindy worked at the lab at Memorial Hospital on weekends to earn additional income.
Because much of the class included adult learners like her, including a physician from Russia and a business graduate turned nursing student, they relied upon each other to get through the arduous program. “Our class made friends very quickly, and we just supported each other with study groups and social destressing,” Cindy says. “Years later, I’m still in contact with a lot of my class, and we’re all still friends.”
‘I wanted to be part of that’
Cindy graduated from York College’s Nursing program in 2005 and worked as a nurse at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She’s spent the past five years as a Chest Pain Center Coordinator for WellSpan York Hospital. Her job focuses on making sure the hospital has proper protocols and policies to create the best outcomes for cardiac patients. While the role achieved a goal of hers to work in cardiovascular care, it took her away from her passion: working with patients.
In 2018, Cindy returned to complete the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program at York College. It’s a busy life, Cindy says. In addition to the hours of class and clinicals, Cindy still works at WellSpan while raising two children under the age of 10.
“It means preparing for the next day the night before, making sure the kids have everything laid out, and making sure my family is taken care of,” Cindy says. “I’m lucky because my husband has been very supportive, and our parents are in the area and can help.”
Driving her to work harder
Cindy says York College also helped by placing students in the program at clinical sites in the county. “I didn’t have to worry about finding that,” she says. “That was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
After graduating in August, Cindy sees her job as helping people achieve their highest level of health. That means working with patients to prevent them from going to the hospital in the first place.
“That’s where health care is heading,” she says. “I wanted to be a part of that. It feels good to see that improvement in patients and seeing their satisfaction in their healthiest state is what drives you to work harder as a nurse practitioner.”