Sep. 4—ROCHESTER — Like a calling, Keely Troup knew well before touring the campus that she was going to Rochester Community and Technical College and study to become a nurse.
It runs in the blood.
Before arriving on campus last week to begin classes at RCTC, Troup of Green Bay, Wis., was preceded by her Aunt Kezia as an RCTC nursing student. And before Aunt Kezia, it was Aunt Ketrah. And before Aunt Ketrah, it was Aunt Kambria (Ks are big in the family). And before Aunt Kambria, it was her mom, Callista (the exception to the K rule).
Back when Troup's mom went to Rochester, in the early 1990s, it was called Rochester Community College and a much different place. But no matter the name or circumstances, members of Troup's family tree have been trooping to RCTC for three decades.
"I knew I wanted to go into nursing my entire life," Troup said. "And then the fact that they all went to RCTC. It was a no-brainer."
Oh, and we forgot to mention Uncle Jerid, who also went to RCTC but went into education and is now a special education teacher in Rochester Public Schools (another exception).
Troup, 18, applied to only one other college, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, during her college search and that was strictly as a backup to RCTC.
"It's a humorous topic in the family," said Troup's mom, Callista. "It's odd that you have five children in one family who are in the sciences. Our brother is a veterinarian and four nurses (the brother did not go to RCTC). But then, the fact that we all went to the same school is even more unique."
If destiny is a tractor beam, Troup felt the pull of twin life forces. Troup comes from a medically oriented family. In addition to her mom and three aunts being nurses, her grandfather was an oncologist and his father was a radiologist. She also has an uncle who owns five chiropractic clinics in the Twin Cities.
"I've grown up around the medical field my entire life," Troup said.
Troup, who also plays for the RCTC women's soccer team, grew up listening to stories — some inspiring, others hilarious — about college life and clinical and internship experiences at Mayo. The prospect of an internship at Mayo Clinic was another big draw for her.
"It was nice that it wasn't a big university, but it wasn't a tiny, tiny community college," Troup said. "It was the perfect size for them. You still got that one-on-one teacher experience, but were still going to a decently sized college."
Except to watch her daughter play soccer and attend her sister Kezia's graduation, Callista said she hasn't had an opportunity to tour RCTC and check out how things have changed. But she does have strong memories of her time at the college, many of which her daughter has heard.
One of her favorite memories was being a student on an orthopedic rotation at then-Saint Marys Hospital. She was supposed to watch a hip-replacement surgery, but at the last moment, the nurse with whom she was paired switched things up. An emergency stroke patient was being brought to the hospital, believed to have suffered a brain aneurysm.
"This will be so much more exciting," the nurse said to Callista, who got to see the entire process, from the patient entering the hospital to repairing the brain aneurysm."
Callista said she was able to experience and see things at Mayo as an RCTC student that she wouldn't have gotten anywhere else.
"It made a big difference," Callista said. "I think the biggest impact on me was my belief that there should be learning from the top down and the bottom up. The very top surgeon was teaching everyone underneath them. They're constantly learning and teaching. I never felt like I was a peon."
If all goes according to plan, Troup will enter the job market hungry for newly minted registered nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for registered nurses will grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, accounting for nearly 200,00 openings each year over the decade.
But it isn't the stories so much as seeing the satisfaction that Troup's mom and her three aunts get out of nursing that has made the profession such a draw for Troup.
"The reason Keely loves nursing is because she sees her mom and her aunts, who are all in different areas of nursing, enjoy their occupation taking care of people," Callista said. "I love nursing. I love taking care of people. And the fact that she has seen that is why she's interested in nursing."