An Unexpected Career Change A Life-changing Experience

An Unexpected Career Change A Life-changing Experience In 2000, Michaelynn Paul was a wife, mother, and nurse, working 12-hour shifts, when she told God she wasn’t happy. She enjoyed her job at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, Ore., but her husband, Don, had just had surgery, and her 8-year-old twin boys Ryan and Zackrey were growing up too fast. Believing she was too busy to do anything about it, she told God it was up to Him. “Don’t ever ask God to do something if you aren’t prepared for the answer,” she says now. Within a week she received a phone call from Fred Troutman, her former professor at Walla Walla College’s School of Nursing. He had a suggestion—teaching at WWC. “I laughed at him and sent a very stern prayer heavenward telling God that I needed something different, but not teaching,” she says. But Fred kept calling. Eventually, Michaelynn met with Lucille Krull, dean of the School of Nursing, and was impressed. There were serious drawbacks to taking the job, however. Her husband wasn’t working, and this job would mean a dramatic pay cut. But Michaelynn decided to stop resisting and step out in faith. She began teaching in June of 2000, preparing for her classes while continuing to work at the hospital. That meant an extra paycheck, which helped pay off their bills. Two days after she was hired, her husband went back to work. After Michaelynn’s first year of teaching, her son Ryan became seriously ill with leukemia. Michaelynn, still on summer vacation, could be with him in the hospital without worrying about work and getting paid. “Had I still been working at the hospital, I would have had to choose between working and my son,” she says, “This has been one of the biggest blessings about working at WWC.” That fall, another teacher taught her clinicals so that she could remain with Ryan during his treatment. When she had to teach other classes, former co-workers from AMC, or members of her church, the Gladstone Park Church, sat with Ryan. Besides balancing the roles of teacher, wife and mother to a seriously ill child, Michaelynn was also working on her master’s degree. Somehow, everything came together. Many times her professors allowed her to write papers on research topics related to Ryan’s illness, preparing her more to talk to Ryan’s doctors. She has no idea how she juggled all those roles. She chalks it up to a lot of prayer and the support of family and friends. “It’s been a hard row, but it has taught us a lot of good lessons,” says Michaelynn, “I think my kids are stronger spiritually, and we’re closer as a family.” Ryan’s leukemia is in remission. Michaelynn finished her master’s degree and teaches advanced acute nursing and pharmacology as an assistant professor at WWC’s School of Nursing. In 2002, her students nominated her for, and she received, WWC’s Excellence in Teaching award. She still thanks God every day for helping her to stop resisting and listen to His leading.

An Unexpected Career Change

A Life-changing Experience

In 2000, Michaelynn Paul was a wife, mother, and nurse, working 12-hour shifts, when she told God she wasn’t happy. She enjoyed her job at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, Ore., but her husband, Don, had just had surgery, and her 8-year-old twin boys Ryan and Zackrey were growing up too fast.

Believing she was too busy to do anything about it, she told God it was up to Him. “Don’t ever ask God to do something if you aren’t prepared for the answer,” she says now. Within a week she received a phone call from Fred Troutman, her former professor at Walla Walla College’s School of Nursing. He had a suggestion—teaching at WWC.

“I laughed at him and sent a very stern prayer heavenward telling God that I needed something different, but not teaching,” she says. But Fred kept calling. Eventually, Michaelynn met with Lucille Krull, dean of the School of Nursing, and was impressed.

There were serious drawbacks to taking the job, however. Her husband wasn’t working, and this job would mean a dramatic pay cut. But Michaelynn decided to stop resisting and step out in faith.

She began teaching in June of 2000, preparing for her classes while continuing to work at the hospital. That meant an extra paycheck, which helped pay off their bills. Two days after she was hired, her husband went back to work.

After Michaelynn’s first year of teaching, her son Ryan became seriously ill with leukemia. Michaelynn, still on summer vacation, could be with him in the hospital without worrying about work and getting paid.

“Had I still been working at the hospital, I would have had to choose between working and my son,” she says, “This has been one of the biggest blessings about working at WWC.” That fall, another teacher taught her clinicals so that she could remain with Ryan during his treatment. When she had to teach other classes, former co-workers from AMC, or members of her church, the Gladstone Park Church, sat with Ryan.

Besides balancing the roles of teacher, wife and mother to a seriously ill child, Michaelynn was also working on her master’s degree. Somehow, everything came together. Many times her professors allowed her to write papers on research topics related to Ryan’s illness, preparing her more to talk to Ryan’s doctors.

She has no idea how she juggled all those roles. She chalks it up to a lot of prayer and the support of family and friends. “It’s been a hard row, but it has taught us a lot of good lessons,” says Michaelynn, “I think my kids are stronger spiritually, and we’re closer as a family.”

Ryan’s leukemia is in remission. Michaelynn finished her master’s degree and teaches advanced acute nursing and pharmacology as an assistant professor at WWC’s School of Nursing. In 2002, her students nominated her for, and she received, WWC’s Excellence in Teaching award. She still thanks God every day for helping her to stop resisting and listen to His leading.

February 01, 2005 / Walla Walla University
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