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Lee Stamper

Nurse Extern to ER Nurse

June 17, 2024 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time


For 20 years, Lee Stamper, RN, had worked with money.

“My wife, her mother, my mother and I were partners in an income tax preparation business until we sold it in 2018,” Stamper said. “I was tired of everything financial, and I wanted a career where I wasn’t stuck in an office. I knew something had to change.”

The native Kentuckian and Somerset resident was weighing his career options when two things happened: His mother got sick, and the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I decided to go back to school, and I knew I wanted a career where I could help people,” Stamper said. “I met a lot of wonderful people caring for my mom as her health was failing, and that inspired me to pursue a career in nursing.”

College to CHI Saint Joseph Health

Stamper enrolled in Somerset Community College’s nursing program.

“I chose the Laurel campus in London so I could graduate six months earlier, and we did a lot of our clinicals at Saint Joseph London,” Stamper said. “That’s where I fell in love with the facility.”

Stamper joined the nurse externship program at CHI Saint Joseph Health as a float nurse in the summer of 2023. This chance to work alongside an experienced nurse while still in school helps nurses like Stamper find their path.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I graduated,” Stamper said. “Everyone I worked with was wonderful, but I fell in love with the ER.”

This past January, Stamper started a full-time job as an RN at Saint Joseph London. Stamper said the hands-on eight-week externship program cemented his desire to be a nurse, even as a much older student at 45.

“I didn’t have any background in clinical or hospital work, and others did, and I felt like I was a bit behind,” Stamper said. “The externship program helped bring me up to speed. Everyone I worked with was very encouraging and supportive.”

Off the Clock

When he’s not helping patients, Stamper is usually spending time with his wife and three children.

“I like to build gaming PCs with my youngest son,” Stamper said. “My family is my main hobby, so anything that they’re into, I’m into.”

Stamper also hopes his new, second career will last a long time.

“I’m looking forward to the future,” Stamper said. “I would encourage people to go after the career you want. It’s very rewarding.”

CHI Saint Joseph Health offers senior nursing students a paid, 8-week summer externship where they can work alongside registered nurses in a clinical setting. Learn more.

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