Student Spotlight: Q&A with Stephanie Pelarski, Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Class of 2024

Stephanie Pelarksi
Stephanie Pelarksi, DNAP '24

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Q: How would your biggest fans describe you?

A: My daughter would definitely say that I am serious and driven because she has been watching me pursue my career dreams for some time. My husband would say that I am reliable and an exceptional multitasker because of all the goals I strive to accomplish and complete each day.

Q: What is your favorite way to spend free time?

A: School takes up a good portion of most days but when I have free time I love to read paranormal fiction on my Kindle. Furthermore, when my teenager can spare any free time from her phone (which is hardly ever) I do enjoy spending time with her. Lastly, I love spending time with my three miniature dachshunds, who like cuddling and playing fetch. 

Q: Why did you choose Wayne State University?

A: I love the fact Wayne State is close to home for me so I am able to spend more time with my family. It is also a great campus and has an excellent reputation for preparing students clinically for nurse anesthesia.

Q: Why did you choose the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program?

Stephanie Pelarksi with her semi truck
Stephanie Pelarski has moved from the road to the ER.

A: I was actually working as a semi-truck driver before I became interested in nursing. My mom passed away suddenly from a heart attack and that is what spurred my career change. After that happened, I developed an intense drive for knowledge about pathophysiology and disease in the body and started taking prerequisites for nursing. On the first day of nursing school, I learned what a CRNA was and thought how incredible it was that nurses could provide anesthesia, and decided that is what I wanted to do.

Q: Tell us about a classroom, lab or clinical experience you enjoyed.

A: I had a patient once who had a fracture, and normally when they fix this type of fracture in the operating room, the patient would be asleep. However, this patient was in a situation where they could not simply go to sleep. Anyway, the patient ended up having a special nerve block in the affected area and was able to be awake during the entire procedure without any pain or issues. It was an incredible experience to be a part of and further solidified my decision to pick this fantastic career.

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for students following in your footsteps?

A: Keep striving for more because there will be hurdles you have to overcome, but you will overcome them, and once you do the reward will be better.

Stephanie Pelarski on her wedding day
Stephanie Pelarski with her husband on their wedding day.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: I would like to finish my degree in nurse anesthesia and then I would love to teach others in this amazing profession one day. I would like to be the type of instructor who loves my career, because those instructors provide you with the most enriching experiences.

Q: What makes you Warrior Strong?

A: I think what makes me Warrior Strong is that I have had to endure being dealt a not-so-great hand in life when I was younger, and it has made me fight harder to get where I am today. I hope to one day be the person who others can look up to and know that if they work hard, they can accomplish their dreams too.

WSU Applebaum’s Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program is led by exceptional faculty and clinical instructors dedicated to the profession and the teaching of students using state-of-the-art teaching facility and anesthesia classrooms. The DNAP degree is 36 months, designed to offer registered nurses an advanced education and full scope of practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Graduates will also meet the requirements for the National Certification Examination. Learn more about the application process and make plans to attend a college information meeting, held for prospective students at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 25,000 students.

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