KOKOMO, Ind. — Since second grade, Nolan Deboy has wanted to be a nurse — just like his grandmother.
“I think most of that came from being around her, and going to work with her sometimes, and seeing how she does things,” said Deboy. “I’m a people person. I love talking to people and being part of their health care journey. I already knew I loved nursing, and being in nursing school at IU Kokomo solidified my decision.”
By going to Indiana University Kokomo, he followed in her footsteps, earning his nursing degree from her alma mater — and even completed his first clinical rotation at IU Health Tipton, where his grandmother worked for more than 30 years.
“I thought that was pretty cool that I did my first acute care clinical at the place where she worked,” he said, adding that he found the area of nursing he likes best while he was there, when he had the chance to spend a day in surgery.
“That wasn’t even on my radar as a field of nursing to go into before that,” he said, noting that he’s been able to have surgery and perioperative experiences through his other clinicals, including at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette, where he hopes to work after graduating.
Deboy appreciates that nursing students were able to continue having hands-on nursing experiences through the last year, even with the COVID-19 pandemic making it more difficult.
In the early days of the pandemic, they were able to use the nursing simulation lab in place of on-site clinicals. When safety protocols were in place, students returned to area hospitals and health care centers.
“I feel like IU Kokomo has done a really good job of lessening the impact it had on our education,” he said. “Our clinical sites wanted students to be there, and IU faculty made sure it was safe for us to be there. None of this had happened before, and they had no model to go off of in planning for us.”
Deboy is doing his part to make a difference, volunteering to give vaccinations at clinics in Clinton County, where he lives.
“They get vaccines based on who many volunteers they have,” he said. “If they don’t have volunteers, they can’t give the vaccines. I’m able to serve my community with my nursing skills. It’s neat to be a part of history.”
In addition to his work in the classroom and clinical sites, Deboy has worked in the admissions and advising offices, helping with campus visits, orientation, and other programs for prospective and incoming students.
He’s also volunteered at School of Nursing outreach programs, giving potential future nursing students an inside look at the school.
He’s proud to be a third-generation IU Kokomo graduate — in addition to his grandmother, his mother, Katie Deboy, is a School of Education alumna.
“I don’t feel like a number at IU Kokomo,” he said. “I feel cared about, and cared for. People know my name, and want me to succeed and thrive on campus. It’s really special here.”