Annie Laird, ’18, wastes no time setting up her 5- and 3-year-olds on their portable computer games and doling out snacks to keep them occupied before they head to the airport to pick up their new au pair. Life is busy for this mom of three, enrolled in the Master of Nursing program, while her career Navy husband is often deployed overseas. But it’s all part of her master plan—one she’s waited years to implement.
Laird spent 12 years aboard U.S. Navy ships providing freedom of navigation and trade in the world’s busiest shipping lanes. When she and her husband decided they wanted to have more children, Laird began to think about a different career. But it wasn’t until her own difficult pregnancies that she realized she wanted to be a midwife.
Laird’s midwife, who became her mentor, advised her to consider the choice carefully. So, Laird became a doula first. After three years, just as she was sure of her decision, her husband received military orders to move the family to Bahrain, where Laird continued working as a doula. While there Laird realized she wanted to work with all socioeconomic populations, not just those who could afford a home birth. That meant working in a hospital, which meant getting a nursing degree. Having a nursing degree meant something else, her mentor told her: She could always support her family.
Today, Laird is pursuing her new career through Seattle University’s College of Nursing. She was attracted by the school’s accelerated immersion program for non-nurses. “There’s a lot of value in coming in as a non-nurse,” she says. “Having a fresh perspective brings some diversity to the profession. As a Naval officer, I was under a lot of stress involving critical thinking. We bring that strength in diversity to the table. There are former Army rangers, fire chiefs, social workers … I like that about the program.”
One thing they all gain, Laird says, is the Jesuit commitment to “self-directed” learning that is necessary in the medical field. “In the nursing profession…when a problem presents itself you have to figure it out with your team. The Jesuit education prepares you for that.”