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Habermehl Follows Her Heart to Change Her Life and Career

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Sarah HabermehlAfter experiencing five corporate mergers in her 20-year career at a telecommunications firm, Sarah Habermehl was ready to make a change. Although the 40-year-old mother of two knew it wouldn’t be easy, she was determined to follow her heart and pursue a new career in the medical field. 

Habermehl initially turned to her local community college to take the prerequisite courses needed for acceptance into the nursing program. Around the same time, she also sought employment as a clinical partner at St. Joseph St. Charles Hospital, a position she still holds today. It was there that she met some students from St. Louis Community College who told her about their experience in the program and encouraged her to apply. 

“While I’d taken most of my prerequisite courses at another college, I decided to take their advice and explore my options at STLCC,” she said. “I began by contacting an academic advisor who helped walk me through the process and figure out which classes I still needed to complete. It was a seamless process, and I’m so thankful it worked out.” 

Habermehl officially began STLCC’s nursing program in August 2020 at the Wildwood campus. When she graduates next spring, she hopes to work as a pediatric oncology nurse or pediatric trauma nurse. She’s also considering earning a master’s degree so she can become a nurse practitioner.  

According to Habermehl, her kids were one of the biggest reasons why she decided to go back to school.  

“My boys are six and eight, so when they come home from school, we all sit around the table and do our homework together,” she said. “While my responsibilities at home, school and work can be a lot to manage, I want to be a great influence on my kids, and I want to show them that you’re never too old to follow your heart, change your life and build a career that makes you happy.” 

Michelle Petterchak, RN, MSN, assistant professor of nursing at Wildwood, described Habermehl as an outstanding student. 

“Sarah works very hard to ensure that she learns the skills that are necessary to be a strong nurse. At times, her kids even help her out with class assignments by acting as patients so she can practice the concepts she has learned, like checking vital signs and changing fake dressings,” Petterchak said. “She has a strong passion for helping others and I’m confident that she’ll have a rewarding career in nursing.” 

Habermehl familyWhen asked what she enjoys most about STLCC, Habermehl said, “My experience has been so much better than I expected. My professors are amazing. They’re always willing to answer questions or provide supplemental instruction when needed. It’s obvious that they love what they do, and they’re committed to working as a unified team to guide us along our path toward a nursing career.” 

In her free time, Habermehl enjoys creating special memories with her family. One way they accomplished this in 2020 was by participating in a family project they called “30-30.” They set a goal of hiking 30 different trails together that took at least 30 minutes to complete.

“I’m an avid runner, and I like hiking, camping and being outdoors,” she said. “While 2020 was a challenging year, our project took us to five different states, and we ended up hiking 72.34 miles. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad we were able to spend the time together.” 

With the new year underway, Habermehl recently began clinicals at two local hospitals as part of the program. 

“I’m in my second semester at STLCC and I’m loving it,” she said. “I’ve always been drawn to the medical field, and I’m so happy I made the decision to pursue a career as a nurse.” 

Learn more about nursing at STLCC. 

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