What’s one thing most people don’t know about CNP Nicole Lehrer? She has been collecting Barbies since 1999 and has amassed a large assortment, all in original boxes. She has always loved the beauty of Barbie and her “gorgeous outfits.” But most of all, Barbie’s example of “girl power” and an accomplished, can-do attitude resonates most with Nicole. Hey, Barbie has more than 200 careers!
Like Barbie, Nicole aimed high and is proud of her accomplishment to become our newest certified nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s Hospital Nursery Group at Summa, after serving as a nurse in the field for 28 years. It’s a new location for the hospital, and she’s honored for the opportunity to make rounds and provide the highest level of newborn care, including monitoring baby’s well-being, weight and feedings, while educating parents on home care.
While Barbie is an inspiration to Nicole, so, too, are her tiny patients. She fell in love with newborn care because of the resiliency shown by her patients in their first days after birth. To her, there’s nothing more rewarding and encouraging than watching them grow stronger and meet milestones, while preparing them for their new life outside the womb.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s?
I previously worked as a nurse for 21 years in Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Special Care Nursery, and labor and delivery room. I came to Akron Children’s NICU in 2015 because I wanted more experience with critical babies. I will never regret that decision. It is a privilege to work here and it definitely has made me a better nurse.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a certified pediatric nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s Nursery Group at Summa. It is a new location, and we are excited about this opportunity. Myself, along with 2 other CNPs and our collaborating physician, Dr. Lawrence Handwork, make rounds on the newborns.
Do you have a favorite instructor or mentor?
My mentors are a special group of nurses I worked with at Akron General’s NICU. They were my work family from 2004 until 2018 and have shaped me into the nurse and provider I am today. They hold a special place in my heart.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
I decided to become a nurse practitioner when I joined Akron Children’s. The younger nurses inspired me to go back to school. It was very intimidating going back to school at my age, but it is an accomplishment I am very proud of.
What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you as a provider?
This is my first role as a nurse practitioner and I will never forget this experience. It is such a privilege to stay and work as a nurse practitioner with Akron Children’s.
What achievements are you most proud of?
My 2 boys, Carson and James, are my greatest accomplishments! Carson is 21 years old and attends Heidelberg University. He plays football and runs track. Several years ago, he left baseball and found a love for sprinting and discovered he was fast. James is 18 years old and is graduating from Woodridge High School. He plays basketball and golf. He enjoyed football until 3 broken clavicles led him to pursue golf. He will join his big brother at Heidelberg University, where he will play golf.
Besides raising them, going back to school was huge and I am so proud of this achievement.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
I run a lot. I like to grab my ear buds and head outside or inside on my treadmill. It is a great outlet for stress and anxiety.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tiffin, Ohio.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
I have 2 sons. My mother is a retired teacher and my father is a retired nurse. My sister is an internal medicine physician. Last but not least, I have a cat named Jagger. He has one yellow and one brown eye.
Who had the greatest influence on you and why?
My mom! She showed me and my sister what a hard-working woman can accomplish.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I enjoy vacationing in Florida with my family. Boating and shelling on the beach are relaxing. I also enjoy gardening. It is where you will find me in the spring and summer, tending to my plants, especially in the morning with my coffee.
Geneva on the Lake is my favorite get-away in Ohio. I go several times a year with friends to enjoy local wines.
If you could choose your age forever, what age would it be and why?
I don’t want to go backwards, only forwards. I have a lot to accomplish, and I can’t wait to do it.
What piece of advice did someone give you when you were young that still resonates with you today?
My late father-in-law, David Lehrer (whom I met while in nursing school), told me to find an area of nursing I enjoy most and get good at it. That’s the reason I’ve never left obstetrics and neonatal care. It is truly my passion.