Nurse Dads, You Inspire Us!

Sydnee Logan
By Sydnee Logan  | 
Nurse Dads, You Inspire Us!

There are lots of dads throughout our community at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Read on, meet the dads who inspired us and student-dads finding harmony in school and parenthood, and silver-linings in an unexpected year.


Paul Kang


I started the MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program as my eldest started Kindergarten.  We both found online schooling very challenging to say the least, especially sitting next to each other.  I wonder how we will look back on these times in a decade? But I already miss my little friend who gave me the best hugs every single day to cheer me up.


Abiy Mersha

MSN (Entry Into Nursing) student, and “Dad of two beautiful daughters!”


Jimmy Hoang


I became a first-time dad a little over a month before beginning the MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program. Moving from California and leaving behind my son and wife was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. Now that they are here with me in Baltimore, I enjoy every second of watching this little man grow. I learned to balance many responsibilities at once but most importantly I have set aside time to soak in fatherhood. COVID has limited a lot of outside activities that my family and I would have enjoyed, but it encouraged a lot more intimacy within our family. Now with easing restrictions, we’re excited to take our little guy to places such as the aquarium and the zoo.


The man who inspired me:

The man who inspires me is my own father, who works long days in the hot sun as a landscaper. He truly has shown me what it means to work in silence and to be humble. Another important man who has inspired me is my high school wrestling coach Tom, who instilled principles and values that I will carry throughout my entire life such as a sense of humor, discipline, hard work, and grace.


Josh Wymar

DNP Executive track student (class of 2023) and dad of two.


Vi Ly

I am a second year DNP Nurse Anesthesia student. My wife, our two children, and I recently moved to Maryland and we are still adjusting being away from family. Looking back, being a father and a student has been a rewarding experience, but not one without challenges.

My wife and I welcomed our boy Teddy in 2018. At that time, I was finishing up my MSN program while working nights as a Registered Nurse at a local Intensive Care Unit in California. After nightshift, I would rush home to care for Teddy while my wife worked days. I remember my son would cry every time I refused to hug him after my long shifts caring for Covid patients. He had no idea why. This broke my heart. And there were times when he wanted to go into the room to “Say Hi to Daddy” but couldn’t get in because I was in lectures or taking a test virtually. These have been challenging times. However, I strive to be a role model for my children by being the first person in my family to obtain a doctoral education, an opportunity that both my parents and grandparents did not have.


Owen Smith

Balancing time and responsibilities as a nurse, student, father, and husband during the COVID pandemic and as a first year PhD student has been a challenge as well as an opportunity to reevaluate my priorities and restructure life for our family.

To prioritize time for studies, I planned to resign from my full-time job as a nurse case manager several weeks before starting classes. As the primary income provider for our family this presented a potential financial challenge for us. To avoid having to take out loans or take extra jobs that would require us to pay for childcare, we decided to rent out our home and move in with my wife’s family about an hour north of Baltimore. With the first year of classes being primary online, our relocation did not affect my studies and allowed for extra support with childcare, finances, and meant our twin boys would be raised in a Spanish-speaking household. It has also allowed me to spend more time with my wife and kids and improve my diet and exercise routines. These positive changes for our family were crucial in helping us survive the COVID pandemic, the stressful first year of the PhD program, and helped us prepare for unexpected baby number three, coming in September.

As a nurse scientist, I’m committed to promoting the health and quality of life for my patients and community of interest. As a father and husband, I hope to demonstrate this commitment to my family as well. 


Emily Cunningham

My dad, Jeffery L. Cunningham (Creighton University, ’86) has been practicing as a nurse anesthestist for 35 years. He began his nursing career in California, spending time in the progressive care unit, intensive care unit, and post-anesthesia care unit. It was in the PACU that he first encountered a nurse anesthetist and was drawn towards this field. In 1984, he moved his family to Omaha, NE to begin his studies.

I was born the next year. As my dad prepares to retire this summer, I am beginning my studies as a member of the second cohort of the DNP Nurse Anesthesia program at Johns Hopkins. The night before this term began, he wrote to me:

Even though you are training in a highly technical field, always remember that you are a nurse!  The level of compassion that you have and that you can show your patients will always be a benefit to them and to you!


Lisa Ishimoto

My dad Dean Ishimoto works as a store manager of the only 24-hour pharmacy on the Big Island of Hawai’i, which serves as a critical access point for many locals to get their prescriptions and medical supplies. His shifts are much like a nurse, often being 12+ hours and requiring him to work in the day, overnight, and to step in when others call out. Although he’s not a nurse, I am inspired by my dad’s work ethic and selflessness to serve others, qualities I want to draw upon in my nursing career.


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Sydnee Logan, MA is the Sr. Social Media and Digital Content Specialist for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares Hopkins Nurses with the world.

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