NICU to CNA: Preemie twins born at Stormont Vail excited to become CNAs

Bethany and Emily Peterson recently completed the CNA program at TCALC.
Bethany and Emily Peterson recently completed the CNA program at TCALC.(Stormont Vail Health)
Published: May. 14, 2023 at 3:02 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A set of twins born prematurely at Stormont Vail will begin their own journey in healthcare alongside their RN father as they become certified CNAs.

Stormont Vail Health says that a longtime nurse and his family’s experience in healthcare following the premature birth of his twin daughters led to a family affair in the industry.

The health network said while there was no pressure from Steve Peterson or their grandmother, his twin daughters, Emily and Bethany, both recently completed the Certified Nurse Assistant program at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers.

According to Stormont Vail, the Peterson girls both spent their first weeks of life in its own Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - where their father worked at the time. The pair are part of a permanent photo display of infants and children served by the NICU in the entrance hallway.

Besides their father, the health network also employed the Peterson girls’ grandmother, Nancy Pheasant, who served as a nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit before she retired a few years ago. Now, Steve is even part of the network’s Rapid Response team.

Peterson said he has encouraged Emily and Betnay throughout the program because it provides them with training for a job and can also be used as a stepping stone to explore other healthcare career pathways. As seniors at Hope Street Academy, they will graduate and complete their certification this month.

“They both passed their CNA certification exams so they will be looking for jobs very soon. They are excited to have a job and have meaningful work to do,” Steve said.

The proud father also said the TCALC CNA program is special to him as his former coworker, LeAnn Edington, RN, teaches the course. The pair worked together in the NICU. He believes the program has given his twins and others a great foundation in healthcare.

“It all stems from the CNA program, building from there,” Steve noted.

And as it pertains to nursing, Steve said the program has given the girls options.

“I told them both it is hard to get bored in nursing,” he said. “There are so many options, remote at home, or in the thick of it. It’s nice to have those opportunities.”

According to the health network, Emily is interested in working with pediatrics or newborns as a nurse while Bethany wants to become an emergency medical technician, paramedic or nurse.

“They like to help people, they like to help and give. And nursing is one way to live that out,” Steve concluded.