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Alumni Valentine’s Day Spotlight: Working as a Team

Eric Hearn (’18) and Melissa Hearn (’17) pictured with their two children.

Eric (’18) and Melissa Hearn (’18) met at church in 2008. At the time Melissa was a Spanish major at the University of South Alabama. Eric had just returned home from a church mission and was working to figure out his future plans. They fell in love instantaneously and were married the same year.  Little did the couple know that their love for each other would lead them both into a rewarding profession that they could share.

During their time in school Eric became a natural in biology. This was the course that inspired him to become a nurse. Melissa, watched his fascination grow, and as she helped him study for his Anatomy and Physiology class she knew she wanted to join him on his journey to become a nurse.

Eric and Melissa completed their Associates of Science in Nursing in 2013. Eric became an ICU nurse while Melissa started working in the ER.  Shortly after, they welcomed their first child and started working towards their bachelor’s degrees.

Once they obtained their BSN in 2015 they decided to continue their journey by pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, College of Nursing.

”While we had different concentrations, we were able to take some courses like pharmacology together,” said Melissa. “We share fond memories of sitting side-by-side listening to Dr. Farr’s lectures.”

Pursuing a master’s degree as full-time nurses and parents was difficult, but together they powered through the tough times.

“We always worked as a team, studying together late into the night, taking turns with the baby, and picking up comfort food for each other after long days,” said Eric. “Our professional achievements mean so much to us because we shared every step of the way.”

Both Eric and Melissa are now pursuing doctoral degrees, again taking turns with house chores and bedtimes. “We thought about taking turns doing our doctoral degrees, but we know we are capable of more when we work as a team,” said Melissa. “The journey of becoming a nurse, is so much sweeter when shared with those you love.”




Kara Clark (865-974-9498,