Becoming Dr. Nixon: A Lifelong Dream Come True
When asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up,” most kids will give a variety of different answers over the course of their childhood, but mine was always the same: a doctor.
I was born in the early morning in June 1997 in Fort Wayne. At first glance, I seemed perfect. My parents counted my 10 fingers and 10 toes, then sent me to the nursery so they could rest. Six hours later, they awoke to the news that their firstborn was turning blue. She needed to be flown by helicopter to Riley Children’s Health in Indianapolis.
Once at Riley Children’s, I was diagnosed with several complex congenital heart defects. Over the course of my first year of life, I had two open heart surgeries, several procedures and hospital stays, and even spent my first Christmas at Riley. I have had several more procedures since then, including a third open heart surgery halfway through my first year of medical school.
While my medical problems placed me on the pathway to medicine, it was my cardiologists, Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Hoyer, who inspired me to become a physician. The compassion and humanism they have displayed over the years has truly been my inspiration. As a kid, I was always excited to go to the hospital, to watch my echocardiograms, and talk with my physicians because my team has never made me feel different or less than because of my medical history. I have always felt like a person and never a diagnosis. At every visit, they ask first about what is going on in my personal life before talking about my medical needs.
My doctors also made me feel heard and seen. From an early age, they made a point to include me in care discussions and really empowered me to take control of my health when a lot of aspects were out of my control. My concerns were always taken into account.
This past May, I graduated from Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine and achieved that literal lifelong dream of becoming Dr. Kelly Nixon. To make it even more special, Dr. Hoyer was there to hood me. To have one of the people who inspired you to go into medicine be there to confer that honor was more meaningful than I can put into words. I look forward to continuing my training in Pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital and cannot wait to pursue a career where I too can help children excel, no matter what health problems they encounter.