A chance meeting – in where else but Heidelberg’s health center – got the ball rolling for Heidelberg’s first-ever nursing student.
Kaitlin Kingman, a junior, recalls visiting the health center last fall with a horrible case of bronchitis. Dr. Karen Estridge, a registered nurse and healthcare administrator who came on board to develop and implement the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, happened to be lending a hand in the center that day, and was taking care of Kaitlin.
“I remember she was taking my vitals and we just started talking,” said Kaitlin, who transferred to Heidelberg a year ago. “She asked me my major, and I told her athletic training but that what I really wanted was to be a nurse.”
Karen’s ears perked up. She knew just the pathway for Kaitlin, who was eager to switch her major to nursing. But first, she had to pass the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) entrance exam for those preparing to enter health science fields.
“Dr. Estridge worked with me every single day to be ready for the next step to be ready to apply to Terra’s nursing program.” That’s where Kaitlin will spend the next two academic years.
The new BSN program is a 1-2-1 partnership with Terra State. Students who enroll spend the first year completing core courses at Heidelberg, the next two years of nursing study at Terra State, and the fourth and final year with Heidelberg nursing faculty to complete their degree online. With the successful completion of the third year, students will have achieved an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing and qualify to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) to become a registered nurse.
Just last week, Kaitlin finalized all of the details for her placement at Terra State. She’s super excited for what lies ahead and ready to rock it.
“I worked my tail off last semester and loaded my schedule with core courses so I’d be ready to be placed at Terra,” she said. “It was nice to finally meet all the people there and put faces with names.” She already has her first clinical rotation lined up; she’ll spend one day a week working with geriatric residents at Fox Run Manor in Findlay.
A testament to the flexibility of the new BSN program, Kaitlin is choosing to live on Heidelberg’s campus while taking her coursework at Terra State.
Although lots of hard work lies ahead, Kaitlin wholeheartedly believes she’s meant to be a nurse. “My mom is a nurse’s assistant and she’s always tried to provoke an interest in a health field,” she explained. But there may be a higher power at work here.
A year ago, Kaitlin lost her close friend Makayla in a car accident that also severely injured a second friend. As she sat at the University of Michigan Hospital with her surviving friend, Colin, she yearned for hope. She found it in the medical staff there.
“That’s when I knew this is what I want to do for other people,” she said.
Even after she finishes her BSN at Heidelberg, there’s more she wants to accomplish in the field. “I don’t want to just stop at a bachelor’s degree. I really want to do a Ph.D. eventually, and see where that takes me.”
Until then, she has a goal of working in pediatrics, specifically with children with disabilities.