It took some trial and error for Jeremy Alt to find his calling as an RN, despite the fact that nursing is in his blood.
"It was actually by sheer coincidence that I got into nursing," Alt said. "My mom's a nurse, and I watched her be a nurse for all those years and saw how she takes care of a lot of people. It really spoke to me. I wanted to do something that really impacts a large amount of people."
After a series of stops and starts, he eventually followed in his mother's footsteps. And started dreaming big for his healthcare career.
"My ultimate goal is to become an executive in some capacity — a hospital administrative person or a CEO," he said. "I want to get my master's in nursing and my master's in business administration also."
Alt is beginning his quest with a bachelor's degree at Northern Kentucky University, studying in the online RN to BSN program.
Career Suspense, and Surprise
Alt says that on the way to becoming an RN, there were a few hiccups.
"It took me three times to pass the NCLEX exam," he admitted. Alt looked at each unsuccessful attempt as a new opportunity, however, to begin focusing on what he really wanted to do.
"When I failed, I actually became an aide on this unit that I work on now, and I fell in love with the population," he said.
After passing his NCLEX in May 2018, Alt decided to stay with the team where he started as an aide.
"I work on a psychiatric unit, and I plan to get certified as a psychiatric nurse within the next year. I really like all my coworkers. I love what I do."
Once Alt became an RN, he also began thinking about where a nursing career could take him. One day, a new opportunity caught his eye.
"I was driving with my father-in-law, and I just saw a billboard that said something like, 'Northern Kentucky University RN to BSN, as low as $10,000,'" he said. "I knew that Northern Kentucky was a good school."
Learning the Body/Mind Connection
Since enrolling in NKU's online RN to BSN program, Alt has found the coursework to be useful for his practical understanding of nursing. He's also gained a deeper understanding of the ethical dilemmas nurses face and the role of genetics in healthcare.
"Genetics and Genomics [NRP 476: Genetics] was a really cool class," he said. "It taught me how some of the mental health disorders are transmitted genetically through parents and generations down the line … and passed down to the children."
Alt also credits his bioethics class (PHI 220) with giving him a new perspective on the thoughts and minds of his patients, as well as the questions nurses must ask themselves when treating patients.
"Bioethics was interesting and really made me think about the world and my views about many different things," he said. "It really made me think more for the patient and more of myself — how would I want to be treated if I was in their shoes? It's about really trying to get them the best help that they can get while they're here and when they leave."
NKU's online RN to BSN program has helped Alt learn more about nursing practice as well, and how to deliver the highest quality of care to the people who need it the most.
"It really teaches you some of the central roles of a nurse," he said. "It teaches you more evidence-based practice — how to really dig into a problem and work with a treatment team in finding solutions. It teaches you how to communicate throughout your organization and workspace."
Finding the Balance
Alt knew that nursing would be hard work. The hours are long and the job can feel thankless sometimes. He always finds the silver lining, however. He is grateful for the opportunity to join his family tradition in nursing, and for the love of his wife Jenni.
"My mother's always been very supportive because she's a nurse also — she was a psychiatric nurse at one point in her career," he said. "She's always been there to give me support and help me through whenever I'd have questions, and my wife has been nothing but supportive."
While classes and schedule conflicts make it difficult at times for the couple to connect in person, Alt appreciates the fact that he has a partner who understands his career, and appreciates his work.
"She knew when we got engaged that I was going to be a nurse and that I was going to do this, and she loves what I do," he said. "She doesn't get to see me a lot, because I work full time and she works full time. But she is very proud of me and loves to hear stories when I get home."
While life may be hectic between work, classes and home life, Alt can't help but be positive. Every day, he looks forward to seeing his patients, and the difference he has made in the lives.
"It's not always about money," he said, reflecting on his goals as an RN. "It's more just being able to see the patient's happy faces when they get to walk out that door."
Learn more about the NKU online RN to BSN program
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