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ALBION – As Stacy Gronowski was growing up in Brighton, the handwriting of fate may have been on the wall.
“My mom worked as a biller in doctors’ offices, and five of my aunts on both sides of the family had been nurses,” said the former Stacy Ruthig. “I had always wanted to be a nurse.”
Even an educational detour couldn’t prevent the inevitable. Now a family nurse practitioner, Gronowski is bringing her professional services as a family nurse practitioner to the Oaklawn Medical Group’s Albion site at 302 N. Monroe St., which may be contacted at (517) 629-2134.
Fortunately, the young woman’s early career dreams were buoyed by her talents. In school, the young woman discovered she had an affinity for the math and chemical sciences, particularly organic chemistry.
“In the mid-1990s, engineering was really big, and my teachers and others urged me to go into chemical engineering at Western Michigan University,” Gronowski said.
“I did an internship in chemical engineering and – even though I was just a semester and a half away from a degree – I realized that I didn’t really enjoy it,” she said.
“So, I started to think about what I really wanted to do, and immediately started looking into other career paths,” she said. That brief bout of soul-searching resulted in the recognition that her emotional drive lay in helping others.
“I’m a caretaker by nature – someone who makes sure that everyone’s OK before I am,” she said. Her family connections in the medical profession almost certainly had some influence on that understanding, she added.
“I knew I needed to do something along those lines while using my science background,” Gronowski said.
In 2006, Gronowski received an associate’s degree in nursing from Ann Arbor-based Washtenaw Community College, and immediately went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Michigan State University in 2009, while she worked as a registered nurse at Cincinnati-based Christ Hospital and the Detroit Medical Center’s emergency department.
“When someone finds their niche, it feels like everything is right the way it is going – that’s how I was feeling once I had figured out how to move on,” she said. “It sounds like a cliché, but I really do enjoy caring for and helping other people.”
Gronowski continued to work as a registered nurse for the Sparrow Health System in Lansing and Ionia, and in 2019 graduated with a master’s degree from Minneapolis-based Walden University’s family nurse practitioner program, which included clinical experience in adult and geriatric services, pediatrics, women’s health and family practice.
Grownoski is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan and is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She holds additional certifications in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, trauma, pediatrics and critical care.
She lives in Mason with Brian Gronowski, her husband of 14 years and a quality-assurance specialist for Emergent BioSolutions in Lansing. The couple, who met in high school in Brighton, began dating during their junior year of college. They now have two daughters – Kaitlyn, 12, and Madilyn, 8. A 13-year-old beagle, Sasha, rounds out the family.
“We’re very outdoorsy,” Gronowski said of her family. “We golf, fish and camp. We have a boat, go hiking and in the winter all four of us either ski or snowboard or snowshoe.
“My other primary task is driving my children to their athletic events, because I have two very active girls,” she said.
Gronowski intends to continue living with her family in Mason, but has been familiar with the Calhoun County region through a family member who grew up there, as well as through friends who attended Albion College.
“I already liked the area, and I have a good friend who is an Oaklawn physician,” she said.
“I’ve always been very impressed with the way that Oaklawn treats its staff as well as their patients,” Gronowski said. “I was impressed that the people are friendly, and greet you by your first name. That’s nice, and it’s made me feel very comfortable to be there.”