For many, 2020 will be remembered for the trials and tribulations that affected people across the world. However, for twenty-three, Butler Tech Adult Education Practical Nursing students, 2020 is the year they let nothing stand in their way of pursuing their passion.
Ranging in age from nineteen to sixty-five, these students began the program prepared for a combination of classroom learning and hands-on clinical experiences with the goal of becoming a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN) in under a year.
“I waited for this opportunity for twenty years,” explained Becky Strong, soon-to-be LPN. “I have been the caregiver in my family for many years and I have always wanted to be an actual nurse. There was just always something in life that got in the way,” she shared. “I was so excited the first day of class, I cried!”
Then last March, the Practical Nursing program was forced online due to COVID-19. The students had little time to adapt, as learning via pre-recorded lectures, virtual work sessions and online tests became the norm for more than 13 weeks. The students and instructors worked tirelessly to not only tackle the curriculum but to navigate the new and necessary technology platforms.
Krysten Croucher, a 2018 graduate of Butler Tech’s high school healthcare program at Hamilton High School, said that when she found out her classes were going online, she also cried. However, these were not tears of joy.
“I am such a hands-on learner and I struggle with test-taking,” said Krysten. “I thought there was no way I could do this. But we all pulled together, with the help of our instructors, and we figured it out! There were a lot of phone calls, text messages, and Zoom sessions. It wasn’t easy, but we got it done.”
For Becky, it was not only the difficulty of learning online but also the isolation. “I bought a dog!” she laughed. “And I spent a lot of time gardening because I had to find something to do when I was taking a break from school work.”
Becky was careful to avoid spending time with family due to COIVD but she credits them as her strongest supporters. “My mother and grandmother are my biggest cheerleaders! And I’m proof that it doesn’t matter your age, you can follow your dream and succeed.”
Now, with only a few weeks until graduation and their NCLEX-PN certification test, both are happy they persevered.
“I couldn’t have done this without the help of the other students and our instructors,” said Krysten. “It has been hard, especially separating personal life from classwork while working from home,” she explained, “but I have met a group of life-long friends and I am also grateful for that.”
After graduation, Becky hopes to secure a position with a local hospital network and/or work in homecare. “I am so excited for the opportunity, I want a job tomorrow!”
Krysten originally decided to attend Butler Tech’s Practical Nursing program due to the accelerated timeline so she could quickly determine her next steps after earning her LPN. Her goal is to gain employment in the Children’s Hospital network and work in oncology.
Congratulations to the entire Practical Nursing Class of 2020!