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Distinguished Through the Decades: 2001, Kathryn (Keeton) Nix

Progress 2022: Distinguished Through the Decades

A 2001 graduate of Russellville High School, Kathryn (Keeton) Nix’s success in Junior Miss led her to the University of North Alabama on a full scholarship, from which she graduated in 2005 with her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“I just loved the idea of helping people and taking care of someone when they are at their most vulnerable,” Nix explained.

Following her graduation, Nix first worked two years in critical care at the since-closed Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. She followed that up with a year at Decatur General; her husband Ryan – who she met at UNA – had gotten his first teaching job in Hartselle.

“Then I applied to Samford, their nurse anesthesia program, and got accepted,” Nix said. “I started there in 2008.” She said completing that program had always been a part of her plans. “We had the ability in high school to job shadow through the HOSA program, and we shadowed an operating room, and that’s when I first learned about the nurse anesthetist role. I was attracted to that.” In college she wound up shadowing her father-in-law while dating her now-husband.

Today Nix works at the Surgery Center of Decatur, which she has been since 2014. Her career has also carried her to roles in Pensacola and again at Decatur. “I love my job,” she said. “I love what I do; I love taking care of patients.”

As a Golden Tiger, Nix was a majorette, a hobby she continued for two years at UNA. Her husband was on the drum line, and he is now the intermediate and junior high band director at Hartselle. The couple has two children: Griffin, 8, and Claire, 5. As a family they enjoy hiking, with nearby favorite spots including Bankhead National Forest and Monte Sano State Park.

Junior Miss, Nix said, was a great experience. She enjoyed meeting all the other girls, especially state, and the scholarship money helped her achieve the degree that launched her career.

The interview process of the program was the part Nix said she found most challenging. “I think it’s really important to go through that interview process because from there you are going to have job interviews,” she noted. “The skills you will learn will last you a lifetime.” For her talent she played piano, a piece called “The Storm.”

“Definitely participate,” Nix recommended. “It was a great experience.”