Grandmother of 10 Pursues Passion AND RETURNS to School at HCN


DAYTON, Ohio – Debra Pitzer is living proof that age is just a number. At the age of 61, Pitzer decided she was ready for a change after working as a nurse’s assistant and in other positions related to the medical field for more than 30 years.

“I have had some people commend me and some people say that I’m crazy for going back to school at my age,” says Pitzer.  “I will be 62 years young in April and I am not ready to retire!  I think you are as young as you feel and I hope to keep working to at least 75 or maybe longer.”

Pitzer is a nursing student at the Hondros College of Nursing Dayton/Fairborn campus and it was not one, but two family connections that drew her to the program.

“My daughter-in-law had taught at the Fairborn campus, and I had a niece that received her practical nursing diploma there as well,” she says.  “I had heard such good things about the program and staff that I decided I would try it.”

Pitzer has a long career, with a combined 34 years in various healthcare settings.  Right out of high school, she was employed by The Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, helping to place people into jobs and worked in various offices and in government for several years before deciding she wanted to go into healthcare. 

“My first healthcare position was at a local Nursing Home and from there I went to the local Hospital as a nursing assistant,” she adds.  “I was employed there for 10-and-a-half years.  From there I have worked in assisted living, adult day care as an activity director for 12 years and home health.  I have also held the positions in  marketing/admissions, resident services, as a rehab assistant, community outreach coordinator, to name a few.”

While her time in healthcare has been rewarding, Pitzer is the first to admit that she was ready for a change and found that a career in nursing – and a return to school at Hondros College of Nursing – fit her needs best. 

“All the courses have been great,” Pitzer says.  “With my years of experience I’ve learned some things, but not nearly what I needed to as far as the human body, mind and reasons behind it all.  It is definitely challenging and that is a good thing, because nursing is very challenging as well.”

Pitzer is driven by her passion for learning to broaden her knowledge and help others.  And outside of work she enjoys spending time with her four children and 10 grandchildren, watching sports, fishing, camping and traveling.

“I enjoy making people feel good about themselves, making their day a little brighter and living life to their fullest,” she adds. “especially when you are sick or don’t feel good, it is nice to be around uplifting people.”