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Grateful Student Story: Angela Ertle

Angela ErtleFrom a young age, Angela Ertle wanted to be a nurse. “My mom is a nurse, and I always wanted to give back in some capacity,” she explained. “Nurturing is natural and very rewarding to me.” After graduating from high school in 1995, she started working as a bank teller and had her first child, setting the goal to graduate from nursing school someday.

In 1997, Angela took the first step and enrolled in the Aultman Hospital School of Nursing. She spent a year and a half in the program before the financial needs of her growing family led her to make the difficult decision to put her schooling on hold and return full-time to the finance industry. She built a successful 23-year career in that field, but that dream of becoming a nurse never left her.

In November 2019, Angela was laid off and decided it was now time to pick up where she had left off. Aultman School of Nursing had expanded to become Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and at the age of 43, Angela re-enrolled. “I really liked the proximity to where I live, the small class sizes, and the opportunity to build relationships with instructors and fellow students,” Angela shared. However, only eight weeks after classes started, the world came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other higher education institutions, Aultman College held all classes remotely. “I attended my first semester at home, working alongside my kids while they were also doing their schoolwork,” Angela said with a laugh. “It was definitely a challenge to learn anatomy and physiology and chemistry from my kitchen table.”

Angela persevered until fall 2022 when the father of her four children passed away. While helping the family cope with the loss, she once again had to decide if she could afford to continue her education. “That’s when the email came through that I was going to be interviewed for the T. Raymond Gregory scholarship,” Angela recalled. “I remember crying all the way through the interview. The help I would get through the scholarship made the difference whether I could stay in school or not. There’s no way I would be talking to you today, getting ready to graduate, if it weren’t for that opportunity.”

Along with the T. Raymond Gregory Scholarship, Angela was also awarded the Aultman Endowed, Austin Bailey Visiting Nurse and Health Foundation of Greater Massillon scholarships over the course of her educational journey. “The scholarships I received were a direct gift from God,” said Angela. “Following the death of the children’s father, the T. Raymond Gregory Scholarship allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom with them while I finished my degree.”

During the last semester of her senior year, Angela interviewed for the Aultman Student Nurse Internship program. The program allows students to start their careers in a paid position with Aultman in exchange for a two-year commitment to continue employment after graduation. Angela interviewed with three departments that interested her, and she accepted the offer from the Emergency Department to begin a paid precepting position. “Being able to put my book theory and application into practice, combined with the clinical instruction I have had over the last four years in the hospital, is making my transition to my career much less intimidating,” she said.

On May 2, 2024, Angela graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing, achieving a goal she had set for most of her life. After she passes her NCLEX exam, she will continue working in the Aultman Hospital Emergency Department, with a sign-on bonus as part of her employment package. “The Emergency Department aligns with how I’m wired,” Angela said. “I am excited to serve the community that I live in and give my time and attention to those who need it when it matters the most.”

Angela has nothing but gratitude for the donors who made her dream a reality. “Saying thank you doesn’t feel like enough,” Angela expressed. “The scholarships changed our lives. Had it not been for the experiences that inspired the donors to give, I wouldn’t be telling my story, and my family would not have seen me walk across that stage. I look forward to using my own experiences to pay it forward and be the reason why another person is able to pursue their educational dreams.”