Life after ITT Tech closing: Nurse excels in field - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Life after ITT Tech closing: Nurse excels in field

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Krista Bowers, LPN at the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities in Mantua and Rookie of the Year Award recipient Krista Bowers, LPN at the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities in Mantua and Rookie of the Year Award recipient
Christine Miranda, Hattie Larlham Director of Nursing, and Krista Bowers, LPN and Rookie of the Year Award recipient Christine Miranda, Hattie Larlham Director of Nursing, and Krista Bowers, LPN and Rookie of the Year Award recipient
The Bowers Family The Bowers Family
Krista, Jessica and Sarah Bowers Krista, Jessica and Sarah Bowers
Jessica and Krista Bowers Jessica and Krista Bowers
MANTUA, Ohio -

A little more than a year after being left out in the cold when ITT Tech suddenly closed, a Warren woman's dream of becoming a nurse has taken flight, and she has already surpassed her peers.

Krista Bowers, a licensed practical nurse at the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities in Mantua, received the Rookie of the Year Award last week.

"You can tell she cares—that she's here for them (the patients). It's very hard to find people who are here for our mission and enjoy being here," described Christine Miranda, director of nursing for the facility.

Bowers said, "I was shocked (about the award) because I haven't been there that long—I haven't even been there a year. I'm a brand new nurse. I have no nursing experience—just what I learned at school and picked up as an aid—to get something like this. I feel sometimes I'm falling on my face doing this, and it makes me feel good that I'm doing my job the way their standards require and a little bit beyond."

Bowers works night shift and provides medical treatment for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The facility provides long-term care.

"I don't feel like I'm doing anything extraordinary. I'm just doing what I like do," Bowers explained.

Miranda noted that Bowers stands out because of how quickly she caught on, how well she works with others, how easy going she is when things change and how quick she is to help others.

For Bowers, nursing is not a job but a calling. 

"I don't consider it work. I go and take care of my other family," she stated.

She has always wanted to care for those with disabilities because of her sister Jessica, who lived in a similar facility in New Mexico. 

"I always wanted to be a nurse because I saw what they did and how they took care of her, and she was always so happy," Bowers described.

As an infant, Jessica was not developing properly and aspirated, which led to significant brain damage.

She surpassed doctors' expectations and lived to be 13, a month shy of her 14th birthday, with the physical and mental capabilities of a 1 year old. 

When Jessica would come home, Bowers would help her mother provide the care that her sister needed: giving medications, bathing.

Jessica passed away in 2001 when Bowers was 11 years old. Their birthdays are two years and a day apart.

"That's what kept me pushing forward was my sister. No matter how bad things were, (there was) a tiny voice saying keep going," Bowers said.

Bowers' journey to become a nurse has not been easy.

In 2012, she did not make the cut for Kent State University's nursing program. 

She later enrolled at ITT Tech, which closed six months before graduation.

"I broke down for like two days. I didn't know what to do. Once I started at Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing that's how I found out about Hattie Larlham. They did clinicals there," she said.

Bowers graduated from Hannah E. Mullins on Feb. 23 and received the "Best All Around Nurse" award.

21 News covered the graduation. During her interview, Bowers said, "I'm currently looking to work for Hattie Larlham in Mantua. Hopefully once I get my license, I'll be able to reach out to them and work with special needs pediatrics."

She did not even have to reach out to Hattie Larlham. A human resources recruiter reached out to Bowers on Facebook about a LPN position a couple days after the story aired.

The day she was hired by Hattie Larlham was her sister's birthday, March 29.

"I would like to thank the Hattie Larlham family for making dreams come true," Bowers said.

"Everything happened for a reason. It wasn't a cakewalk. It wasn't easy; it was very emotionally draining, and at times I thought I shouldn't be a nurse—maybe things happening as a sign you shouldn't do this—I ignored that and kept pushing forward."

Hattie Larlham is really happy to have Bowers on their team.

"She's a team player! We could use about 10 more of her!" stated Miranda.

Bowers' future plans include going back to school to become an RN.

"This is her first year as a nurse, and she has already adapted so well, and that's hard as a new graduate, especially if she wants to be an RN. There's a lot of room for growth; she has a lot of potential," Miranda said.

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