N is for Nurse: Students learn to care for and heal others

Jessica May of Madisonville and Tyler Miller of Glasgow are third-semester nursing students and started dating during their second semester. “Both of our grades have gotten better since we started dating,” May said. “We always study together.”

Maciena Justice

A passion grew as 16-year-old Jessica May worked in her hometown’s nursing home helping patients.

“It was doing the little things, like getting a tissue for someone,” May said. “It put a seed in my mind.”

May, a senior from Madisonville, said she loved her anatomy class and things went smoothly for her as she began seeking out a nursing degree.

WKU’s nursing program has a 100 percent pass rating on the National Council Licensure Examination that’s required for board certification to practice nursing, a fact that she found appealing when deciding to come to Bowling Green as a student.

Now in her third semester in the program, she is not only learning skills but also putting them to practice in a clinical setting.

May took a prescribed list of classes that fell within the pre-requirements of the program before applying and getting into one of the 40 seats available.

Glasgow, Ky., senior Tyler Miller is in his third semester in the nursing program, and said his journey was a bit different.

“My mom is a nurse, and [I have] a cousin I look up to that is an orthopedic surgeon,” Miller said. “I have always wanted to be in the medical field.”

Miller said that because of the diversity in the field of nursing, the opportunities are never ending.

Dr. Dawn Wright, BSN Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, said that to receive admission into the nursing program, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.7, pass the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute entrance exam and have a clean criminal background check.

The program director, Dr. Mary Bennett said that a student also must have a clean drug screen because of professional standards.

“Ten students and one faculty member take over a ward in the hospital,” Bennett explained about how students are placed in real-life work situations.

May said being in the program has made her grow up, because the requirements in the nursing program are so intense that the participants have to be dedicated to achieve success.

May and Miller have been balancing class and spending time in a clinical setting. They have been to soup kitchens, Rivendell Behavioral Health Services and various medical facilities.

May even had the opportunity to travel to Belize over the winter term with dental hygiene and social work students.

“We got to set up a clinic there in a very rural area,” May said. “We did immunization on children and Pap smears on women – an experience I would not get if I was a regular nurse here in the US.”

She said her trip helped her skills by learning how to be more flexible and simple resources like a pen aren’t available.

May said of her post-graduation plans that she is thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner or getting her Master’s degree as an anesthetist, while Miller said he would like to work on an emergency room staff with the goal of working his way up to run a floor.