Nursing student finds ‘redemption’ at Butler Tech

Kellie Nolan

Kellie Nolan

Transforming lives is Butler Tech’s mission, and according to one adult education student, not only is her life being transformed, but she hopes to transform the lives of others when she graduates from the Practical Nursing program.

Kellie Nolen, 39, of Germantown, admits she was not a stellar high school student.

“I didn’t take high school seriously,” she said. “I was a person who underestimated myself, so I ended up getting my GED.”

That later led to Nolen pursuing, then obtaining, an associate degree in business.

“I worked for a while, but when the recession hit in 2008, my place of employment lost its funding; therefore, I didn’t have a job,” she said. “The problem is that I had a ton of student loans.”

To pay off the loans, Nolen began working in the nursing home where her mother lived.

“I started in housekeeping, just cleaning and then moved on to being an aide,” she remembers. “What I found is that I loved it!”

Nolen began to observe the quality of care the patients were getting. She knew that she could provide that kind of care and even go beyond “acceptable care.”

“I have the heart for it,” she said. “I call these people the ‘forgotten people’ and I want to help them get the best care possible for the duration of their lives.”

It’s Nolen’s goal to graduate in time to be able to care for her mother who suffers from diabetes, blindness, and schizophrenia.

“As an LPN, I can care for her and the others who have suffered like her,” she said. “I want to be one of those who doesn’t accept average care. I think sometimes we forget what ‘care’ really means.”

Nolen recognizes she has the patience to work with patients.

“If they deny food or anything, I will give them a few minutes then re-approach,” she said. “Sometimes they just need time. I plan to bond with my patients during that time.”

Nolen began the Butler Tech Practical Nursing program in July. Her goal is to graduate after 11 months.

She attends school 5 days each week for 7.5 hours each day. Then, she does her homework in the evenings for three to five hours.

I’ve been out of school almost 20 years and never had anatomy and physiology, so I am loving school,” she said. “This is redemption for me.”

And Nolen has the support of her husband, Eric, and 16-year-old son, Zain.

“My son helps me study and quizzes me, and sometimes he even knows more than me,” she laughed. “And it was my husband’s idea for me to go back to school, so he supports me all the way.”

Nolen said she talked with her “favorite nurse” at the nursing home where her mother lives, in Franklin, Ohio. The nurse, who also attended Butler Tech, spoke positively about the program.

“She was right, because I absolutely love Butler Tech,” said Nolen. “The instructors are amazing and such a blessing. This really worked out.”

To learn about Butler Tech Adult Education programs, including healthcare training, visit ButlerTech.org.