Mom and daughter complete a nursing program at the same time

An area mother-daughter duo completed an intense nursing program this spring.

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy

Cheryl (Harvell) Mignano of Sylvania, Ohio and her daughter, Nicole (Mignano) Hauser of Toledo, finished the nurse practitioner program at the University of Toledo and earned post-master’s certificates in May. Both women are former Monroe County residents.

“She was my study buddy. We spent lots and lots of time. It was really wonderful we could spend time like that together again,” said Mignano. “I wouldn’t have gotten through the program without her.”

After passing their certification and obtaining their licenses, the women can work as nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners are similar to doctors. They can see patients, prescribe medicine and make referrals.

“We can see patients in primary-care settings and assess them medically. We can care for acute illness, help people care for chronic conditions, the same thing a general family doctor does,” said Mignano.

The road to a post-master’s certificate wasn’t easy.

Mignano gave birth to Nicole when she was just 16-years-old and living in Carleton.

“I was a teen mom. Nicole was born in 1984. I took a semester off (when she was born) and finished high school in three years,” said Mignano, a 1985 graduate of Airport High School.

At age 18, Mignano moved to Monroe with Nicole and took college courses through the years. She studied in several fields, including pre-medicine, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business before her 40th birthday.

“My love for learning has allowed me to be on the successful side of teen pregnancy statistics. We’re success stories. We could have been another statistic,” said Mignano, who later married and had a son, Salvatore Mignano.

Mignano worked for American Airlines for 17 years, but wanted to do something more fulfilling.

“I wanted to do something that I wanted to do, instead of just a job that brought me home a paycheck. I was always drawn to science. I’ve always loved science,” said Mignano.

Her daughter, a graduate of St. Mary Catholic Central High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. She then went to nursing school at UT and graduated with a master’s degree in nursing in 2010.

“She said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to do this,’” recalled Mignano.

Mignano signed up for the program and graduated with a master’s degree in nursing two years later.

Both began careers as nurses.

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Hauser worked for Toledo Hospital and also was an educator for nurses. Mignano worked at the University of Toledo Medical Center and also was a nurse educator.

Then, the pair learned they only needed five more semesters of classes to become nurse practitioners.

Once again, Hauser encouraged her mom.

“She said, ‘Come on, mom, let’s do this,’” recalled Mignano. “She said, ‘I’m going to go through this and two years later you’re going to go through it. Let’s do it together.’”

Both already had full plates when they began the program.

Mignano was working full-time on midnights as an intensive care nurse.

“That was grueling. I cared for COVID patients,” said Mignano.

Hauser, 37, is currently a full-time mom of two.

“Nicole bought a house, sold a house and finished her post-master’s certificate all in the same week,” said Mignano.

The program was intense.

“It was so challenging and then COVID hit. The first semester we were supposed to do clinicals, and no one was letting students come in,” said Mignano. “It was a tough program. COVID certainly did not make it any easier.”

But, the pair kept going.

“Failure wasn’t an option,” said Mignano.

Because of the pandemic, the women weren’t able to attend a traditional graduation ceremony. Instead, they are planning a family celebration soon, which will include Mignano’s son, who lives in Bremerton, Wash. and is in a plumbing apprenticeship, and her three grandchildren.

Once certified, both women are contemplating job changes.

“I want to work in a family physician setting, like urgent care or a family practice,” said Mignano. “We got to try out clinical settings. Third semester I did a family practice and loved it. I saw all the lifespan.”

Once her children begin school, Hauser also wants to work in a family practice.

Mignano hopes her story will encourage others who find their lives aren’t going as planned.

“There are a lot of people out there who run across some challenges,” she said. “I feel compelled to let others know that, while our lives change in ways unplanned, it is important to realize that it’s not over and it doesn’t define who you are or determine your success or failure. I truly believe that all obstacles are just opportunities to learn and grow.”

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