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Second degree nursing program leads to new career

Jan 20, 2023
A man in a white sweater poses for a picture
A man in a white sweater poses for a picture

KOKOMO, Ind. – After working as an emergency room technician, Reggie Manuel decided he wanted to become a nurse.

He found the program he was looking for — one that built on his previously-earned degree in biology — with the Indiana University Kokomo School of Nursing and Allied Health Profession’s second degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) track, which allowed him to complete his degree in 18 months.

“It had everything I needed,” Manuel said of the program. “It was very fast paced, but with our cohort being smaller, it was a supportive environment. We were able to rely on each other a lot. If any of us were struggling, the rest rallied around them and helped. Our faculty was very supportive, too.”

He graduated in December 2022 and started a new job as an emergency room nurse at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. 

“All of my clinical experiences and schooling showed me I enjoyed this work,” he said. He especially enjoyed his capstone experience in the ER at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette.

“It gave me the confidence that this is something I definitely want to do,” said Manuel, from Kokomo. “I like the variety, that every day you never know what you’re going to see. Having a good team really makes it work. I enjoy the teamwork and collaboration.”

He earned his previous degree in May 2020 and began his second degree in August 2021 while continuing to work at the Ascension St. Vincent ER. As a technician, he helped with placing patients in rooms, taking vitals, transporting patients through the hospital, and assisting nurses and physicians with procedures.

“Seeing the impact nurses have with their patients on a daily basis motivated me to get my nursing degree,” Manuel said. “I like talking to people and getting to know them, and as a nurse, you have a lot of interaction with a variety of people. My time as a tech gave me the confidence and composure to keep a conversation with anyone, from a variety of backgrounds.”

He added that the experience of working in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic prepared him for the rigor of the ER.

“I saw people at their lowest points for sure,” he said. “The hospital was always at capacity, and I stayed late a lot during shifts. If you can handle the worst during a pandemic, you can handle the ER.”

Manuel enjoyed the process of earning his nursing degree – especially the support of his cohort and faculty.

“We were able to get to know our professors on a personal level and could ask for help any time we needed it,” he said, adding that they shared phone numbers so students could text questions.

With the program complete, Manuel is excited to begin his new career.

“I’m happy to put the skills I’ve learned here to use,” he said. “I’m excited to apply that knowledge to my everyday work experience, and to continue to grow as a nurse.”

He plans to work for a few years and then return to school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

“I want to build on the base knowledge and skill set I can learn from the ER,” he said.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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