Campus Closeup: Eva Vigo
When a delegation of NMU nursing students and faculty traveled to Peru in 2008 to study alternative medicine, Eva Vigo (Nursing) says she was blessed to make the trip with them. One of the most rewarding experiences for her was traveling to the jungle to meet the inhabitants of a very small village. They included a shaman who showed the travelers his healing garden and explained what every single plant was and what it did.
“It was a life-changing experience,” said Vigo, who is supervisor of NMU’s Nursing Technology Center (NTC). “It opened my eyes to another way of being on the planet and how very much alike we all are.”
Vigo herself isn’t vastly different than the village shaman. She, too, works in the art of healing—a focus that has defined her career since her graduation from Northern in 1981. Vigo worked as a camp nurse before moving on to the detox, urology and step-down units of Marquette General Hospital. She eventually found her niche in home health and private duty nursing.
“I enjoyed that the most,” she said. “It wasn’t just about working with the client, but also with the family as a whole. It felt very rewarding and meaningful to assist families through the healing process.”
For the past 15 years, Vigo has run the NTC at Northern. The center is both a practical and social hub for nursing students. It gives them the necessary space and materials to hone their nursing skills and procedures, complete "test outs" with graduate students and fulfill a variety of course-related requirements. Less-experienced students also have the opportunity to be mentored by more experienced students.
“That helps relieve some of the anxiety in a program that can be rather rigorous. A wonderful side benefit of the NTC is that it promotes socializing among students. It also allows me to form a special connection with students outside of the classroom. Being surrounded by them every day is the best part of my job.”
Between the steady buzz of activity in the NTC, requests from faculty and students for everything from mannequins to furniture and the responsibility of supervising 8-12 student employees, it can be a challenge occasionally for Vigo to find time to get paperwork done. But she doesn’t seem to mind.
“I’ve been very blessed,” she said. “My supervisor, Kerri Schuiling, offered up the workplace gift of autonomy and I do my best to honor that. I am very happy with my job and the support I receive from her, faculty, staff and students contributes to that happiness.”
Vigo has a son, Mason, who is an incoming freshman at NMU. In her free time, she is an avid reader with a focus on spiritual books based in Buddhism, Christianity and Native American teachings. She also enjoys spending as much time as possible outside and in nature, whether it is to cross-country ski, hike or walk in the woods.
“Water, woods, snow, rain—I don’t care as long as I’m out and about,” she said.
Despite being allergic to horses, Vigo also spends her free time volunteering with Willow Farms’ therapeutic riding program, which helps special needs participants through horseback riding.
“It’s purely miraculous watching participants in the program transform right before your eyes,” Vigo said. “I highly recommend being a volunteer.”
Despite Vigo’s varied nursing experience, she said what she enjoys most is helping people find their own true path and the strength that comes from within.