In 1994, Dr. Linda Cole began her career as a nurse-midwife at the Maternity Center of East Tennessee. During Dr. Cole’s time at the maternity center, it received a new name to honor an exceptional nurse-midwife who had worked at the facility, had served as a mentor to Linda, and the Maternity Center of East Tennessee became the Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center in 2000.
Seven years after the birth center renaming, Dr. Cole found herself on the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) board. Coincidently, the AABC offered a scholarship in Lisa Ross’s honor that allowed a student or new nurse-midwife to attend the group’s annual conference. The young nurse-midwife who won that scholarship also happened to be named Lisa Ross.
“Here I was at this amazing conference, and my name tag said ‘Lisa Ross Scholarship Winner: Lisa Ross,’” Ross said. “Everyone kept doing a double-take, and multiple people took me aside to introduce me to Linda since she had been the director of the Lisa Ross Birth Center.”
That was to be the end of a string of fun coincidences – or so they thought.
Fast forward to 2018; the scholarship winner chose to expand her healthcare education by enrolling at Frontier Nursing University (FNU) for her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). By that time, Dr. Cole had also earned her DNP at FNU and returned to work at the University as the course coordinator for PC-713: Principles in Independent Practice. While Ross was attending her Frontier Bound orientation session, the two met once again.
“I had no idea that Dr. Cole would be there, but as we had previously met, I went up to her and asked if she remembered me,” Ross said. “She replied with, ‘of course I remember you!’ And started hugging me before I could even finish the sentence.”
As luck would have it, in Ross’ first semester at FNU, she inadvertently found herself in Dr. Cole’s class.
After the extraordinary meetings, Ross hoped that she would get to know Dr. Cole better by being in the PC-713 course. However, as one of the larger courses offered by FNU, they had little opportunity to talk on a personal level, so Ross reached out via an email that read:
“I’m sorry that we’re not in touch more during this class. Today I was thinking that if we were in the same building and I passed you in the hallway, I would tell you this:
While I was working on my spreadsheet for the touchstone project, I kept a video with you talking playing in the background. I wasn’t listening to what you were saying, but the sound of your voice kept me calm and confident. I was getting anxious earlier. Thanks for being my midwife.”
Dr. Cole was flattered and responded to Ross.
“Just because we aren’t in a brick and mortar school doesn’t mean we can’t meet up in the hallway,” said Cole.
The two began meeting every few weeks over video chat for sessions that they jokingly call ‘hallway meetings.’
“I guess you would call it a mentor-mentee relationship,” Dr. Cole said, “It has been very rewarding, and we have become true friends.”
“Dr. Cole’s wisdom had been a huge support in getting through my DNP,” Ross said, “but we have also bonded over interests, family, and whatever else comes up- it’s a personal relationship that reflects FNU’s Culture of Caring.”
As a final icing on the cake, following the Lisa Ross Birth Center’s recent closure, Dr. Cole received some of the facility’s furniture. Dr. Cole is relocating to Alaska and will be packing lightly, so, to take the story full-circle, Ross will soon proudly be displaying furniture from the Lisa Ross Birth Center in her home.
“I started thinking about our whole relationship not too long ago, and I said to Lisa, this story is just too neat not to share with our FNU community,” Dr. Cole said.
“Hopefully, our story will encourage other students and instructors to reach out and build similar relationships,” said Ross.
FNU prides itself on a Culture of Caring built on respect and compassion for students, instructors, and patients. If you are interested in being part of a school that puts community first, visit FNU’s admissions page.