Although she did not entirely understand what it meant as a child, Blair Grose had a fascination with mental health.
“I wanted to be a brain doctor,” Grose said. “Only because I thought that’s what ‘mental health’ meant.”
What she did know, even at a young age, was that she was a caregiver.
Today, as a nurse, wife and mother, one might think Grose is at capacity in her own particular realm of caregiving. She is not. In addition to her other roles, Grose is pursuing a master’s degree at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner and work with older adults in long-term care facilities.
“I’ve always been interested in supporting individuals,” she said. “The geriatric population is subject to a lot of biological changes, and a lot of that population’s mental health needs get missed.”
Grose is able to balance the demands of her family, job and school through scholarship support — including the Baxt Family Scholarship that allows her to work less hours. “To be able to focus on the kids, clinicals and school and not worry about how many hours I can pull at work for the week is truly a huge relief,” she said.
“Nurses are the backbone of the entire health care system, and we’ll all need a nurse someday,” said Joy Baxt ’71 B.S.N., who with her husband, Leonard, founded the Baxt Family Scholarship. They see the College of Nursing as a national leader in urban health and, due to the socioeconomic diversity of the university and the metro Detroit region, they believe College of Nursing students receive more effective training to become better health care professionals.
“Life is about all of us getting together in a diverse world and understanding our similarities,” said Baxt. “When students get together to study or when they take part in clinicals, they see each other on an individual, personal level, and that’s beneficial to society.”
Grose has experienced this diversity, working with fellow students to provide mental health services in several Detroit area facilities, including a residential treatment center and a shelter for homeless youth. She agrees that this kind of exposure strengthens the skills of nurse practitioners.
“Wayne State wants us to be more well-rounded and to branch out with different populations,” said Grose. “We go and do home visits with the older adults in the community, and we partner with other students becoming medical workers, psychiatrists and social workers to help patients see opportunities.”
Thanks to scholarship support, Grose has been able to take advantage of this unique range of learning experiences while maintaining a busy schedule for herself and her family. But as an already accomplished caregiver, she shows no signs of slowing down.
“I’m very grateful to the Baxt family,” said Grose, who will graduate in July. “For them to give to the future nursing population really gives me something to aspire to."