Stacy Marie Psomiadis
Nurse, Georgia State Law Student and Mother of Six
A second-year student in the College of Law, Stacy Marie Psomiadis (J.D. ’21), a mother of six, has relied on her experience as a longtime nurse to balance her studies with work, her new role during the pandemic as a teacher to her children and preparations for a November wedding.
I’VE BEEN A REGISTERED NURSE FOR 25 YEARS.
Until June 1, I worked for Northeast Georgia Health System in educational services where we developed, implemented and executed education for all staff members. With the arrival of COVID-19, I had to organize a crash course with our staff every time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new guideline for personal protective equipment (PPE).
It was tough, but juggling my law school studies and transitioning my kids to homeschooling was really a challenge. I have six boys, and my kids were all raised in the public school system here in Gwinnett County.
As soon as I found out homeschooling was going to be my reality for eight weeks, I got online and made myself a template of everything that needs to be done every Sunday night to prepare for the week. I have a degree in education, and I never thought I was going to need it to homeschool my children, but that degree has been invaluable.
Everything that I do to raise the kids is very much based on my experience as a nurse. Being a nurse, you have to be organized and on top of things. You have to critically think through every aspect of what you’re doing.
I have a fifth-grader, an eighth-grader and my youngest just turned 7. I spent the last three months helping my 19-year-old apply to Georgia State to get into the sport administration program. I’ve also spent the last three months helping my 10th-grader get all of his dual-enrollment information done so he can advance to 11th grade and start his college career a couple years early.
My oldest son is 28 and starting his fourth year of medical school, so I’ve also been focused on making sure he has everything he needs to start applying to residency programs soon. I’ll graduate from law school the same year my oldest son graduates from medical school. How’s that?
I had about five hours of online learning to do with the boys every day. Of course, the older kids managed their own, but because they’re teenage boys, I had to stay on them.
I took five law classes this semester — 15 credit hours — so it was a lot. I had about five hours of law school work a day, among writing assignments, hypotheticals and videos. I got my older boys to tutor my younger ones so that I could get my law school work done.
At the hospital, one of the areas where I taught PPE guidelines was in the lab. The people who draw blood in a hospital, they’re sometimes 21 and 22 years old, and it struck me that this is a really high-risk group. A phlebotomist is probably the one person who can’t stay six feet away from a patient, so I spent a lot of time in the lab teaching them how to stay as safe as possible.
I also taught our staff about social media: “What are you posting? Should you post it? What can you say? What can’t you say?” Staff sometimes think they can post whatever they want on Facebook because if the hospital tells them what to do, it’s a violation of their free-speech rights. Then we have to have a little constitutional law discussion.
It was really nice because it pulled in my law school career, and I could talk about employment law, constitutional law and what it means to be a right-to-work state.
Nursing is a profession where you serve others, and I think I most definitely was born to serve others. I do it very, very well and enjoy it. It never makes me tired.
My goal is to continue to do that through law. I know that I’m not going to have a career of doing just pro bono work all the time, but I know that pro bono work will be a big part of what I do. I like to be able to help those in need.
The thought of law school was very daunting, but it was always something I’d wanted to do, and my fiancé, Jay — he’s a cardiologist, and we’re getting married in November — really helped a lot in my decision to try it.
It’s never too late, and that’s one of the things I tell my classmates. There’s a great group of students at Georgia State. They’re going to be such a great group of attorneys. I tell them all the time that if there’s anything that you can take away from knowing me, please make sure that you encourage whomever, whenever, that it’s never too late.
One day though, when I’m like 67, I’m going to retire. But I feel like up until you retire, you get up and you do it every day. You do what needs to be done. You help the kids who need help. You help the parents who need help. You help the sick people. You help the confused people. You help.
That’s how we get through this.
Photo by Meg Buscema