Photo of Dacia Neal inside the planetarium lobby with the stained glass windows in the background

Nursing alumna Dacia Neal is dynamic. An individual of conviction and determination, she compassionately fulfills her many roles as mother, caregiver, nurse, organ allocation specialist, veteran, and leader. Having faced challenges and changes throughout her life, she perseveres because “it is not about the change but how you handle the situation.”

When she enrolled in the Lourdes nursing program, Dacia had already accomplished much. The lifelong learner had earned two associates, a bachelor and two master’s degrees. She had served nearly two decades as a leader in the organ procurement field applying her considerable experience while providing excellent patient care.

A single mother of three (Isabelle, Nicole and Sophia), Dacia unexpectedly became unemployed due to organizational restructuring. Not daunted, she pursued a nursing degree. “It is important for me to be a role model for my children. Show them how to move through life’s seasons.”

Her path to earning a BSN was not easy. While working toward her degree, she worked two fulltime jobs, provided care to her disabled brother, assisted her aging parents with their daily activities, and buried a beloved sibling who “in his honor keeps me motivated to elevate and achieve more.” Not to mention, Dacia accomplished all this during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During her time at Lourdes, Dacia was valued for her teamwork and compassion with fellow nursing students. She was recognized with the 2021 Nursing Leadership Award, inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and was selected as the commencement speaker.

Dacia has not slowed down. Since graduating, she has worked as a registered nurse in hospital and hospice settings and currently serves as the Senior Director of Professional Services for ProMedica Hospice of Sylvania and as an independent contractor for Transplant Staffing Resources.

“I have had the privilege of working in multifaceted roles that have provided quality healthcare to a diverse population,” she says proudly. Next on her to-do list is earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in leadership.

Dacia’s advice to the newest nursing students is simple. “Your faculty and families believe in you. You must believe in yourself. Although tuition is expensive, dreams are free. Dream big and set goals.”

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