The Suburbanite
  • Family that prays together, gets their degrees together

  • Families usually do things together. But how many families do you know where the parents and children get master’s degrees in nursing from the same school within four years?

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  • Families usually do things together. But how many families do you know where the parents and children get master’s degrees in nursing from the same school within four years?
    Saturday morning, John Milburn I, 52, of New Philadelphia, and his son, John Milburn II, 31, of Bolivar, put on their caps and gowns for the Malone University commencement at Faith Family Church in Jackson Township. By August, they expect to officially receive their master’s in nursing after they complete their clinical rotations.
    But they’re following in others’ footsteps. John Milburn I’s wife, Christine “Chris” Milburn, 52, got her master’s in nursing from Malone in 2009. Their daughter Richelle Richardson, 28, of Massillon, got her master’s in nursing from Malone in 2011, the same year she walked at commencement with her brother John Milburn II, who was getting his bachelor’s in nursing.
    Around 1989, while Chris Milburn was a stay-at-home mother, she got a job as a nurse’s aide at the New Dawn Retirement Community in New Philadelphia.
    Chris Milburn, who had wanted to be a nurse since she was a girl, eventually qualified for a government program, which paid for her to get training to become a licensed practical nurse at Canton City Schools in 1994, when the family lived in Beach City.
    But John Milburn I, a Navy veteran and construction worker, had enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1991 and become a medic, which inspired him to launch his own nursing career.
    “I loved taking care of people,” he said. “I think God calls you to do something to minister in some way. I’m supposed to minister through nursing.”
    He finished the LPN program at Canton City Schools in 1996 and got a nursing job at the Gaslite Villa nursing home in Canal Fulton. In 1997, John Milburn I was deployed to Bosnia as part of the U.S. peacekeeping mission.
    In 2003, both John Milburn I and his wife got their associate degrees from Kent State University Tuscarawas campus to become registered nurses. By then, Chris Milburn was working at Aultman Hospital in its surgical intensive care unit and her husband was a nurse for Aultman’s oncology department.
    After her husband returned from a 15-month deployment in Iraq, the two completed Malone’s bachelor’s degree program in nursing in 2007, but that year, Chris was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. She underwent successful chemotherapy amid finishing her course work and working at Aultman. With both desiring to be nurse practitioners who can prescribe medication, she and her husband enrolled in Malone’s master’s program.
    “I don’t believe God gives you anything more than you can handle,” said Chris, who now works as a nurse practitioner for a New Philadelphia family practice.
    Page 2 of 2 - However, as soon as John Milburn I started the master’s program, he again was deployed to Iraq. When he returned, he had to repeat the first semester in 2009, while his daughter was enrolled.
    Richardson had graduated from Fairless High School in 2003. Inspired at a Aultman career fair, she also became a nurse’s aide, got her associate degree in nursing from Kent Tuscarawas in 2006, got a job at Union Hospital in Dover and later worked at Aultman. She got her bachelor’s from Malone in 2008 and started the master’s program in 2009, while pregnant with her second child.
    “It’s intense. You really have to study your butt off,” recalled Richardson, who’s now a nurse practitioner for a pediatric practice in Canton.
    But her father didn’t finish the master’s with her. He was deployed to Iraq again in 2010. When he returned last year to resume the program, he attended classes with his son.
    John Milburn II had graduated from Fairless in 2000. But he then went to the University of Akron and focused more on drinking and partying than striving to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. After being inspired by a local doctor to be a nurse, he enrolled at Kent Tuscarawas, but, he said, his grades fell just short of the requirements for him to complete the associate’s program in nursing.
    Dejected, he got a job at Brewster Dairy. His manager’s wife was a nurse, and he encouraged him to revitalize his dream.
    John Milburn II got his degree from Aultman College of Nursing in 2008. He married a nurse, they had two children and he enrolled at Malone to get his bachelor’s and master’s.
    Now a nurse at Mercy Medical Center, he said of walking down the stage in cap and gown with his father, “It’s pretty cool. It’s strange. But it’s pretty cool.”

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