When John Casey BSN '16 enrolled as a student in Emmanuel College's RN-to-BSN program, he made himself and his family a promise: "If I'm in, I'm in," he said, "and I am going to do the best I can in every class I take." He graduated in spring 2016 with a 3.97 GPA and a host of new experiences that contributed to his personal and professional growth.
No stranger to the profession—his mother was a nurse—John's nursing journey began when he took an EMT course in 1990. As part of the training, he was required to complete a clinical rotation in an emergency room. After a busy first night, one of the doctors on his shift was impressed by what he saw and encouraged him to stay on the path.
John became a licensed practical nurse in 1991 and earned his Associates Degree in Nursing in 1993, at a time when it was rare for males to go into the nursing field. (A statistic that is dramatically changing he said, noting his youngest son was preparing to enter college as a nursing major.) When he began his search to complete his bachelor's degree, he was working as a home care nurse and ready to take the next step.
"Having just an ADN was limiting, and I was ready to take on more responsibility," he said. "I also want to specialize in wound care, and a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite."
His initial attraction to Emmanuel's program was just in the name of the College itself.
"I liked the name," he said. "God among us. I liked the spiritual component, combined with the personal approach, friendly faculty and staff and the small class sizes. I felt very comfortable. I also loved the campus, particularly the Chapel. I visited it many times between classes."
But it was the range of experience, expert instruction and holistic perspective of the faculty from which John drew the most inspiration.
"Every time I took a class, I tried to adopt what I was learning to where I was in my career," he said.
From one Emmanuel Nursing faculty member's emphasis on cultural competency and her awareness and understanding of diverse therapies needed to treat a diverse patient population, John was inspired to learn Spanish, which helped in his then role as a home care nurse. Another faculty member's significant background in research led him to get research certified in order to take on an exciting role of professional interest at his current workplace, South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, Mass.
"I had the opportunity to be the primary nurse on a clinical trial for stem cell grafts for wound healing," he said. "It was a national study done with five hospitals, and the results were published in prominent journals. I was honored to be part of it. I never would have done that if I hadn't been in Emmanuel's program."
He completed a 60-hour practicum in South Shore Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation program, which included a focus on nutrition and exercise for those recovering from cardiac events. In addition to the job skills he obtained, the practicum motivated him to add yoga to his already active lifestyle.
John's next steps include studying for and earning his wound care certification, and the varied, determined and forward-thinking approach he took to his nursing education prepared him for lifelong learning and professional growth."Through Emmanuel's nursing program, I expanded both my skills and my perspective on the field of nursing and the role of nurses," he said. "I had a lot of patience from my family, but I couldn't be happier I made that promise to myself."