At age 48, Tetyana Uyechko (pronounced: you-wetch-ko), of Breinigsville, achieved a dream she’s had for years while working as a medical assistant at St. Luke’s University Health Network: to graduate from St. Luke’s School of Nursing, the oldest continuously operating school of nursing in the United States.
In a graduation ceremony Aug. 10, Tetyana joined her 26-year-old daughter, Anna Uyechko, as the second member in their family to become a nurse at SLUHN in 2023, where each has been employed for several years.
“I’m really excited for her,” Anna said of her mother’s accomplishment. Tetyana entered the medical field before Anna, but Anna chose to pursue nursing and her mother followed her.
“We’re always pushing each other to better ourselves,” added Anna.
Anna, of Coopersburg, completed the School of Nursing program in April and is a Labor and Delivery nurse at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus. Her mother will start a job in September at the same hospital, where she will work on its Medical-Surgical unit.
Born in Ukraine, both women came to the U.S. in 1998 with Tetyanna’s husband, and Anna’s father, Orest, when Anna was just 18 months old. A 19-year-old daughter, Kristy, was born in the U.S. She may become the third Uyechko to study at the School of Nursing, said her mother.
Health care is Tetyana’s second profession. She earned a degree in criminal justice and worked as a paralegal for several years when the family lived in New York after moving there from Ukraine. She said she worries about her friends and family back in Ukraine, especially her 74-year-old mother; her sister, also a nurse; and a cousin who is serving in the Ukrainian military.
Tetyana eschewed her sister’s advice to go into nursing before they left for the United States. “I didn’t like blood,” she recalled, but she became accustomed to it as a medical assistant at St. Luke’s after the family relocated to the Lehigh Valley.
Conversely, Anna said she “always knew I wanted to go into health care.” She’s currently in a six-month fellowship at the hospital to learn the intricacies of treating problems that can arise with pregnancies, deliveries and postpartum issues.
Looking ahead, the younger nurse said she wants to further her education and career at St. Luke’s. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to take care of babies,” she said.
Next up, Tetyana, one of nearly 80 graduates in her School of Nursing class, will take her boards to become a registered nurse.
From there she will put her education into action at St. Luke’s Allentown, not far from where her daughter works, in a profession that is widely considered the most trusted in the world.
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.