Eldy Lazaroff, DNP, RN, CNP-BC, professor and coordinator for the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) concentration, did not have one specific thing that led her to nursing. Beginning with an LPN program, Lazaroff knew she would have limited investment in time if she discovered nursing was not her passion. However, she quickly fell in love with the profession and went on to pursue her BSN and her terminal degree.

As a nurse educator Lazaroff has taught both undergraduate and graduate students. A faculty member at Kent State University College of Nursing for 16 years, Lazaroff enjoys seeing students have the spirit of inquiry as they share the new information they are learning in the clinical setting. Her favorite aspect of teaching is motivating students to love their role as a caregiver and provider. She hopes her students see the passion and love she has as a NP.

“My goal is to prepare students who will practice nursing effectively, competently, safely, and incorporate clinical-based research. I have had the opportunity to mentor many NP students and later work side-by-side with them in clinical practice. It is very gratifying to see students grow in knowledge and confidence. I love the “aha” moments,” Lazaroff said. “As the program coordinator, I have the opportunity to share my passion for the WHNP role and my desire to make a difference through education and creativity. I want my students to remember they can be the change.”

She encourages students to take the time to get to know their professors and communicate with them on a regular basis. 

“When a student starts to struggle, they need to reach out immediately to their faculty. We have wonderful resources and tools for students and can become their best cheerleaders,” she emphasized. “Additionally, get plenty of sleep and good nutrition!”

Lazaroff allows her personal experiences as a nurse to influence her teaching style.

“One thing I do when educating a patient is to always provide the rationale to what is happening and why they need treatment or to make changes in their lives. Understanding the reason why is key,” she explained. “When I teach, I do the same thing. I always encourage my students to ask why. I believe that if a student does not know why they are doing what they are doing, they should not do it because that is an unsafe practice.” 

Graduates from the WHNP may work in OB/GYN offices, GYN oncology, fertility clinics, Maternal Fetal Medicine practices, urogynecology, family planning, and STD clinics. Lazaroff advises new her NPs to be vulnerable and patient through the transition.

“It is imperative to prepare students to successfully transition from the student role and thrive in whatever nursing profession or position they seek. It takes time to move from novice to expert. It will take hard work, patience, skill, intuition, and perseverance. Find a place where you fit in and go for it,” she said. “You will learn something new every day. Take time for yourself too. Celebrate your accomplishments!”

A nurse for many years, Lazaroff has observed many changes to the profession, including technology and a shift from patient-centered care to business-centered care. The majority of Lazaroff’s nursing career has been spent as a nurse practitioner, with her day-to-day experiences including well-women visits, management of obstetrical patients, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of female issues, and performance of minor procedures. Additionally, she is certified in colposcopies and spends a great deal of time educating and counseling patients on a variety of topics.

Throughout her career, Lazaroff has developed gratifying provider-patient relationships.

“Providing care to all aspects of a women’s lifespan gives WHNP’s many unique experiences. No day is ever the same. Some days are very hard and challenging,” said Lazaroff. “One of the best compliments I have received was when one of my patients returned to NP school because of the care and encouragement I provided. I always strive to take the time to provide excellent care and answer patient questions.”

Lazaroff went on to highlight how the role of the nurse and healthcare, in general, has shifted over the years.

“Nurses have more responsibility today, while care has become more complex. I have seen the cost of medicine increase significantly and how the lack of insurance or high deductibles limit access to care,” she stated. “I have seen how the focus of patient satisfaction ratings affects payment and patient care. Patients are now more involved in their own decision-making and chose the type of care they receive. But what has not changed is the goal of improved patient care and outcomes.”

At the end of the day, Lazaroff enjoys being a nurse because it allows her to be a change agent and make a difference in the world. “Counseling a patient to make good decisions and improve their health is very gratifying. I enjoy my provider/patient relationships and love hearing their stories.”