COTC Alumna Reflects on Nursing Career

From student to registered nurse to instructor, Sherry Engle shares her passion.


Sherry Engle, of Pataskala, treasures the generous cache of memories she stored up during her nursing years — a career’s worth of interactions that collectively illustrate the “human touch” that she knows is vital to patients’ well-being.

In one instance, she recalls offering to stay after her shift to bathe a knee replacement surgery patient so the patient could be clean for her trip home. It seemed like a simple gesture at the time, but Engle later received a letter from the woman which said, “You’ll never know what that meant to me.”

Sherry Engle stands next to a mannequin in a nursing lab at COTC's Pataskala campus. Engle knows ever-advancing medical technology and scientific discovery are useful tools, but it’s human-to-human interactions such as those that fueled her passion for nursing — a career that she dreamt of since childhood.

“You make a difference in patients’ lives,” she said. “You are contributing to their wellness. Sometimes the time we spend with our patients is more healing than the medicine that they’re getting.”

Engle attended high school in Columbus before marrying and starting a family. When her marriage unexpectedly ended, she found herself a single mom tasked with raising her young children. Wondering how best to support them, she explored a brief stint in real estate before returning to the career that had always held her heart: nursing.

Engle obtained her LPN in 1984, graduating at the top of her class, and began working at Mount Carmel Health System, where she remained until her retirement in 2012.

After spending some time in the field and looking to expand her skill set, Engle chose to attend Central Ohio Technical College to obtain her associate degree to become a registered nurse, which she accomplished in 1994. It was a decision that reinforced her field knowledge and equipped her with skills she would later pass down to her students as a clinical instructor.

“COTC reinforced and added to my education, and I felt comfortable taking care of anything. That’s what I wanted out of my students that I helped,” she said. “I want them to feel comfortable and be able to step into that role, understand how to take care of a trach and how to unplug a feeding tube and how to do the things that they’re going to be running into in their field.”

With COTC’s small class sizes and emphasis on hands-on learning, Engle found her experience fulfilling in every way. After graduating, she spent more than a decade pouring the knowledge she acquired at COTC into future nurses.

In reflecting on her nursing career, Engle feels satisfaction knowing that she was able to bring hope to so many patients.

“My patients were number one, and I would do anything to make sure their outcome was good — and they knew it,” she said.

COTC Nursing Programs

COTC offers a variety of nursing pathways to get you started — or help you advance — your nursing career. Many nursing programs are available at COTC’s extended campuses. New students are accepted three times per year.

Associate Degree Programs:

Upon completion, graduates receive an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Technology and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses (RNs).

Practical Nursing One-Year Certificate

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) Certificate

After completing this single course, graduates are eligible to take the state nurse aide test and be placed on the Ohio Nurse Aide Registry.

COTC Healthcare Visit Days

Learn more about COTC’s full range of healthcare programs, including nursing pathways, at a campus visit. Healthcare Visit Days are on Friday, March 3, 2023, and Friday, April 7, 2023, at COTC’s Newark campus. Learn more and register now at

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.