When Lucinda Kroll’s father-in-law died of a brain tumor in 2010, she turned the tragedy into a personal mission that led her to Macomb’s nursing program and, ultimately, caring for COVID-19 patients at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.
“The experience (with her father-in-law) made me think that I would really like helping people,” relates Kroll. “I was able to meet some incredible nurses and knew from that moment, I wanted to be a nurse.”
After graduating from Mount Clemens High School, Kroll took classes at Macomb but had no career in mind. After she and her husband, Michael Kroll, started their family, there was little time left over for other pursuits. Joshua and Miranda, both of whom are now attending Macomb, were in middle school when their grandfather died. That is when Kroll returned to college, graduating with her associate degree in nursing in 2014.
“The Macomb Nursing program was the single most challenging and rewarding moment in my life, and it has given me an incredible career that I am thankful for every day,” says Kroll. “The professors taught us to be good nurses, but also emphasized the integrity that it takes.”
Kroll, certified in chemotherapy, works in the Oncology Unit at Henry Ford and cares for cancer patients, including those in hospice care. It’s a job that can weigh heavy on the heart at times, but Kroll takes comfort in knowing she’s making a difference in their lives.
“I have felt so much love caring for these patients and their families,” says Kroll. “I am very happy to have had this opportunity.”
Pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at the University of Michigan Flint, Kroll is required to broaden her nursing background and will soon transfer to the Cardiac Telemetry Unit. Last March and April, however, most every unit at the hospital was put in to service caring for COVID-19 patients, many of whom were going into respiratory failure.
“The amount of rapid responses and code blues that first weekend was frightening. I am proud of Henry Ford for mobilizing quickly to protect patients and staff,” relates Kroll, shown far left in the photo. “We worked where we were needed, and every day you were afraid you might get sick or you might bring it home to your family. Knowing you could always count on your fellow nurses made it better. We cried, we laughed, and we did it with integrity because that’s what kind of nurses we are.”
Kroll opted for the DNP course of study that specializes in geriatric care. This is the patient population, relates Kroll, who returns most often to the hospital with the same chronic illness. And therein, she discovered her next mission.
“I would like to help decrease (geriatric) admissions because the more times they are admitted, the more risk they have of infections and a decrease in their functional abilities,” says Kroll, who hopes to eventually teach in a nursing program and share a truth about the profession with those just entering it. “New nurses should never forget that they are essential to the health care team and the glue that keeps it together.”