Program: Master of Nursing
Year: Class of 2021
On Friday evenings over the last two years, Nathan Stecher could be found driving all over northern Ohio to make it to high school football games. As an assistant coach for the Monroeville High School football team and a Master of Nursing student at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Stecher scrambled to get from his clinicals to the field.
In both nursing and coaching, Stecher is following in his parents’ footsteps. His mother is a nurse, and was Stecher’s inspiration for changing his career path from one in government to one in health care. Meanwhile, Stecher coached football alongside his father while growing up, instilling an early passion for the sport.
While the two career paths may seem unrelated, Stecher draws a connection between them: Teamwork.
“As someone who loves everything about the game of football, the teamwork aspect of nursing really speaks to me,” he said.
Another aspect of nursing that appealed to Stecher? The ability to help someone at their time of need. For Stecher, nursing is about more than treating an illness or injury, but also caring for patients holistically and supporting them through difficult moments. He recalls one instance in which a patient was scared and just wanted to talk to someone—Stecher sat with that patient and the two spoke for half an hour.
“I will never forget the smile on my patient’s face when I went to go and the thank you that I received from them,” Stecher said. “While I know that I truly helped in that moment, I hope that that patient knows our conversation made my day and gave me a moment that I won’t soon forget.”
While balancing the demands of his academics and coaching was difficult at times and becoming the best nurse he could be remained his top priority, Stecher found football to be an outlet from homework, projects, clinicals and studying.
Since he was a child, Stecher has accompanied his dad on scouting football teams. And when his dad was offered the head coaching position at Monroeville, it was with one caveat: He insisted he wouldn’t do it without his son by his side.
“Even though it was a bit crazy at times, I loved [serving as a coach while in school] and I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities in nursing and coaching that I’ve been blessed with,” Stecher said.
Now, with commencement just a few weeks away, Stecher is looking ahead to becoming a med/surg nurse on the oncology floor at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio. While he doesn’t plan to coach football again in the fall, he said he’ll be on the lookout for future opportunities. Eventually, he plans to return to Case Western Reserve University to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing degree on the Family Nurse Practitioner track.
“I am looking forward to my future in nursing, and I cannot thank CWRU enough for giving me the foundation on which I can build a career in nursing,” he said.