Kent State University College of Nursing welcomed three-time alumna Alisha Lickwar DNP ’24, WHNP-BC, MSN ‘17, BSN ’15, RN, as the new Coordinator for the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program during the fall 2023 semester. Becoming a nursing faculty member was a long-time dream for Lickwar, who has been teaching for 16 years. Drawn to the university because of the great experiences she had as a student, Lickwar desired the opportunity to prepare future Kent State nursing students for this honorable profession.

“When I began teaching childbirth classes I knew I wanted my career to transition full-time to academics. I love to see that ‘a-ha’ moment when students really begin to understand a concept,” said Lickwar. “I relish the connections I get to make, as well as observing the varied perspectives of my students. When they have a different interpretation of something I’ve taught, it provides me with an opportunity to learn and identify new teaching methods. Learning does not just go one way.”   

Lickwar teaches all the women’s health courses, which encompass taking care of women throughout their lifespan from adolescence through menopause. Additionally, she teaches advanced health assessment, which educates students on how to assess patients as a nurse practitioner. She explained students will use these skills in their future careers to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications and treatment plans for patients.

“Being able to put myself in my student’s shoes has influenced my teaching style. As I continue to grow professionally and learn more, I share my experiences with my students and offer advice,” said Lickwar. “Understanding that each student has a unique learning style, I provide different types of material throughout the course to create various learning opportunities.”

Lickwar encourages nursing students to become life-long learners and never be afraid to ask for help.

“Be organized; look at your syllabus several times a week to see what you should be doing, but don’t get discouraged. Classes are hard. Take a mental health break every now and then,” said Lickwar. “Learn how you study and work best. Set goals and give yourself a pat on the back when you accomplish them. Be realistic and go at your own pace. We all have different experiences, so don’t measure yourself against others.”   

The desire to care for others led Lickwar to the nursing profession. One of the biggest challenges she faced in her career was being a non-traditional student, explaining she returned to college several times while working and raising her family, all in the name of advancing her career. Following a year in telemetry, Lickwar moved to labor and delivery where she took care of women before and during labor, postpartum, newborns and women after gynecological surgery.

“I feel a connection with women and the nurses who care for them. I want women to have a wonderful experience when taking care of their health and I want them to understand how to remain healthy,” said Lickwar. “I am passionate about women’s health and am an advocate for my patients. I am empathetic to their specific needs and continue to keep up to date on evidence-based practice.”

Experiencing the distinct phases of a woman’s life alongside them is Lickwar’s favorite part about being a nurse. She emphasized that no two days are the same. Sometimes she provides comfort by holding a patient’s hand through labor or pregnancy. As a practicing NP, she also provides education and observes as the women under her care move through the distinct phases of their lives.

Throughout her career, Lickwar has witnessed the focus of nursing shift to become more patient-focused by including the patient in the care plan by providing education and incorporating a patient’s culture and other beliefs into a treatment plan. She also pointed out healthcare has veered away from being under the dictatorship of a doctor giving orders to that of a multidisciplinary team working together efficiently and effectively in the best interest of the patient.

Outside of the classroom and hospital, Lickwar enjoys relaxing with a good book or spending time with her family. When she really wants to de-stress, she relishes a bike ride and other forms of exercise. Lickwar also enjoys traveling in her free time. Lickwar received three degrees from Kent State University, including an Applied Science in Nursing (ADN) from the Ashtabula Campus in 2005, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the Trumbull Campus in 2015 and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Education from the Kent Campus in 2017. Lickwar graduated in May 2024 from Kent State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Her DNP project focused on screening pregnant women at their first prenatal visit for gestational diabetes mellitus based on risk factors.