Menorah Medical Center
August 28, 2013

Tessa Hann, a former patient care tech at Menorah Medical Center, gets a hug from her mother, Kim Haynes, a nurse practitioner at Menorah.

by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

“She’s structured and detailed-oriented in some ways, but she knew this is what she wanted to do,” said Kim Haynes, APRN, Hann’s mother. “She just decided to go with the flow. It’s her sense of adventure too.”

Hann quit her job as a patient care technician at Menorah Medical Center this month to join the Navy’s Seaman to Admiral program (STA21). She made her decision to join the Navy months before her last day of work on June 1. Hann knew for years that she wanted to pursue nursing. She combined her sense of thriftiness with her sense of adventure to join the Navy, she said.

“They have really good education benefits,” Hann said. “They have a wonderful tuition assistance program.”

Hann is one credit shy of a biology degree from the University of Kansas and plans to complete her biology degree while she earns her nursing degree through the Navy’s program. She was originally told her start date would most likely be in October. All that changed when she received a phone call on May 15 from a Navy representative.

Hann was now being told she needed to report to boot camp four months earlier than she originally expected. The new date was now June 26. She told the representative she planned to wed in October, but that didn’t change a thing, Hann said. If she wanted to get married, she had better do it soon, she was told.

“I wasn’t supposed to leave until fall,” she said.

Hann was firm. She decided to keep her commitment with the Navy and marry her fiance, but time was ticking faster than ever for both start dates. Instead of months to complete wedding plans, she had only weeks.

“I have two weeks to plan a wedding. It was crazy,” Hann said. “It’s probably two of the largest life-changing decisions I’ve made, and I’ve made them all in a month. I am exited to start a new training.”

Hann’s new husband, Chris, a former marine said he was not happy with the new boot camp date, but not entirely surprised.

“It was job specific. I had an idea something like that could happen,” Chris said. “I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t overly shocked.”

Hann said she miraculously finalized all the details, including a church location, flowers, tuxedos, wedding guests, catering and a gown. It took one week, she said. The wedding was larger and faster than the Hann had expected, but they said ‘I do’ on June 19 in time for a weekend honeymoon and for Hann to pack for boot camp. Hann had just quit her job earlier in the month, which gave her time to plan for a wedding, she said. She was pleased with the results.

“You would think it was stressful but it wasn’t at all,” she said. “I made a list and didn’t stop until I took care of it. Everything worked out just as it should have.”

Hann is both excited and nervous to start her two-month boot camp training in Chicago, she said. After boot camp she will go to Pensacola, Fla., for a six-month training program specializing in aviation technology. Hann will submit her paperwork to request a transition to nursing school as soon as she can, she said. Hann hopes to complete nursing school while serving in the Navy. She has already applied to nursing schools at Avila University, Rockhurst University, the University of Kansas, Baker University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Hann remains hopeful the Navy will see its way to quickly green-lighting her into nursing school through the STA21 program. Once the decision is made, she must promise to serve in the Navy for an equal amount of time it takes her to complete nursing school, she said.

Hann’s grandfathers formerly served in the military, and her sister is currently enlisted. Hann not only appreciates the educational opportunities involved in enlisting but sees it as a way to build a new life, she said.

“A lot of it was for the opportunities,” she said. “You get to travel the world. Lots and lots of educational opportunities. It’s all on their dime.”

Living a structured life suits her personality, Hann said. She likes organization and detail and structure. Hann understands that life in the military is a contrast to civilian life, she said.

“The experience of it all, it’s a much different lifestyle,” she said. “I guess I just wanted to try something new.”

Like the curve ball she was thrown this month, Hann remains realistic. She realizes she is not entering a linear job and could get deployed, assigned to a job she doesn’t like or get discharged, she said.

“You get to travel. There are things you have to worry about,” she said. “Nothing is ever set in stone. You have to be aware of that.”

Hann has worked in health care since she was 16 years old, when she started as a certified nurse’s aid at age 16 in a rural hospital, then later worked in a larger hospital and cancer center. She has worked with a variety of nurses in multiple settings, she said.

“I just really love it,” Hann said. “I love the interaction with people. I have the natural mother hen feature. I like to take care of people. That’s my calling, taking care of people.”

As for the marriage, it will be a commuter marriage for now, the Hanns said. Chris applied for a 12-week Navy officer training school and will report to school in Rhode Island this summer, he said. After that, he will report to a fleet and remain on a ship for six months. Tessa will be in Pensacola during that time. The Hanns will have a chance to re-unite on weekends throughout the year, but hope to eventually live together before the year is out.

“It’s all up in the air,” Chris said.

Chris said Tessa has a passion for nursing and has always been excited about the medical field. She rolled with the wedding plans and managed kinks in the road, he said.

“She’s very determined and goal-driven,” Chris said. “She saw how she wanted it. It was her sheer willpower to make it. I’m incredibly impressed.”

Haynes, Tessa’s mother, was present at Tessa’s going-away party at Menorah where the two occasionally overlapped. Haynes said she is proud of her daughter.

“It will be a good fit for her,” she said. “She is very structured. She is very organized and very detailed oriented.”

Haynes said she is not surprised that Tessa was able to pull wedding plans together in one short week.

“It is very much her organizational skills and her ability to adapt,” said Haynes, a patient and surgical educator at Menorah Hospital.

Tessa, 21, is mature beyond her years, Haynes said. She hails from a family of healthcare providers, Haynes said. In addition to Haynes’ nurse career, Tessa’s grandmother was a nurse and her grandfather was a dentist, Haynes said. Tessa connects with patients and the staff members, she said. Her compassion and personality draw people in, she said. It is easy to picture Tessa as a nurse, Haynes said.

“She just has a nurturing instinct,” Haynes said. “She is very smart, a quick thinker on her feet. I think she will be awesome.”

tags: nursing