Alumni Spotlight: Thurman Eversole, Galen Hazard campus
“I never thought I’d be able to become a nurse. And now I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life but nursing.”
Thurman Eversole never saw himself becoming a nurse. After dropping out of high school and obtaining his GED, he was working a seemingly endless series of minimum-wage jobs, because he honestly believed he wasn’t smart enough to do anything else.
Today, Thurman’s career with Appalachian Regional Healthcare proves otherwise, in a big way. He is a highly respected registered staff nurse in the Intensive Care unit at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, earning certifications in advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) and the trauma-nursing core course (TNCC). He also affects the lives of future nurses, sharing his skills and positive attitude in his role as teacher and mentor to Galen students who gain clinical experience on his unit.
Born and raised in Hazard, Kentucky, Thurman first began working in Security at Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH). That’s where Thurman first felt the spark that became a life-changing flame.
Thurman says, “It was through my interactions with the nurses and witnessing their care and compassion for others that encouraged me. I worked my way up through the company until I found the courage in myself to pursue nursing. It was through the encouragement of others that I was able to believe in myself.”
Thurman enrolled at Galen’s Hazard campus, and graduated with his ADN in July of 2019. At graduation, his fellow students selected him as the recipient of the Marjorie Perrin “Essence of Nursing/Human Touch” award. He has been working at Hazard ARH Regional ever since.
This fall, Thurman will return to Galen to pursue his BSN, and expects to complete it in Fall 2021. Eventually, he aims to continue his critical-care nursing career in a metropolitan trauma-certified hospital.
Thurman says, “Galen has been essential in my journey to becoming a nurse. If it were not for the support of the instructors and staff throughout the program, I would not be where I’m at today. Not only did I gain the knowledge to pass my boards, but I also learned how to confidently care for my patients and their families, no matter where my journey takes me. I like to think that I planted a seed when I started at Galen a seed of compassion and the drive to become a nurse. That seed was well-grounded in Galen, as they have successfully graduated over 20,000 students. With their continued cultivation of my education throughout the program, I grew into a tree of knowledge. They not only gave me the tools to survive the storms of life, they instilled the mindset to thrive. Now, I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else with my life but nursing.”
Congratulations to you, Thurman, and thank you for your dedication. More important, thank you for deciding to believe in yourself. We at Galen, and the students you mentor, and most important of all, your patients – will be forever grateful.
The events of the past week have been painful to watch as we see suffering and civil unrest in our communities across the country. We see the struggle and pain of racism and racial divide that continues to plague our nation and the immense grief caused by senseless death and violence, giving rise to voices louder than ever, saying, “Enough!”
The core values of Galen College of Nursing embrace respect and inclusivity. Indeed, the acceptance and fair treatment of every human being is at the heart of these values, and the nursing profession. We educate students to enter nursing to care for humanity without bias. We have a responsibility to nurture this culture, not only within our walls, but in our lives.
Respect, compassion and accountability have always been fundamental in our values at Galen College of Nursing and we join voices with those seeking change and peace. As we see events unfold contrary to our core values, we know that many are hurting, anxious and concerned for each other, our friends, families, and our country. We share this pain.
We are passionate about our commitment to sustain a community of educators and students built on inclusivity and respect. We continue to nurture acceptance and empathy, and the responsibility for all to do the same, understanding our part in fostering a more just society for all.
Mark Vogt, CEO, Galen College of Nursing
Hannah Fisher, RN always knew she wanted to pursue a career helping people in times of need. When she told her parents she wanted to be a firefighter, they supported her wholeheartedly. But two years into school and training came a medical diagnosis of arteriovenous malformation (AVM), something that could lead to brain aneurysm with strenuous activity. Following doctor’s recommendations, but loving the life safety and care aspect of the education, she decided to pursue nursing.
Fisher graduated from Galen’s Louisville campus ADN program at the end of 2019 and went right into a job at the University of Louisville Hospital in their PCU, with the goal of one day working in its level 1 trauma center. Then came COVID-19.
While she isn’t caring for affected patients, she is seeing first-hand the amazing work and sacrifice of so many as her colleagues locally, and across the country. Seeing the heartache and the physical and emotional strain, she wanted to help. Thus was born, The Blue Heart Movement. She and a friend, Brittany Ballard, decided to give blue heart stickers to their coworkers along with a little note of encouragement, asking them to place the blue heart on their badge, as a sign of hope and unity. And they did so, anonymously.
They also created a Facebook group called Healthcare Heroes as a place for any US healthcare worker to connect “during this crazy time”, and to promote their blue hearts. They started taking requests, using their own money and off-work hours to create what has now turned in to thousands of little packets filled with a note and a blue heart sticker, being sent to facilities across the state, a
nd now, even the country, to be distributed anonymously colleague to colleague, to honor those who are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy.
While Fisher says she dearly misses her Galen family, she “still feels like she is in school” because of her great, new work family. The best thing about Galen for her was the people and how helpful everyone is, and she says she is fortunate to have found that at work as well. Her advice to new students is to connect with people. “The teachers are great”, she said, “and I recommend building a solid support group and starting study groups early in the program.”
For us at Galen, we could not be more proud. Hannah is an example of the compassion, dedication, and determination that is the very essence of nursing and we are honored to call her a Galen grad.
Visit Healthcare Heroes on Facebook or visit this link to put in a request for Blue Hearts to be shipped directly to you.
A relaxing day at a Florida spring training baseball game for Galen College of Nursing student Michelle Potter turned into a real-life test of her skills when she helped rescue a 75-year-old unconscious fan in the stands.
Relaxing after exams, Potter was attending a Philadelphia Phillies game in Clearwater with family and friends when she noticed the woman shaking and then losing consciousness.
The quick-thinking Potter asked a security guard to call 911 and took control, knowing there was no time to wait.
“I laid her down, and she started breathing again, which was a relief,” Potter said. “I kept on checking her pulse, and she didn’t have much of one. And when 911 emergency medical technicians were on the phone, I communicated everything that I was doing. I did everything that I learned in my classes.”
Paramedics transported the woman to the hospital, where Potter followed up with her new patient.
“I don’t think she realized the gravity of the situation until everyone told her,” she said.
Graduating next year from the Tampa Bay campus with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Potter said she had been told several times that she would make a great nurse. She chose Galen for its innovative simulation labs. Even though Potter is interested in forensic nursing, she said she had tested 100 percent in emergency care in her exams. Nursing runs in the family as her sister is a nurse, and Potter has a strong background in science.
Potter says Phillies fans at the stadium have known her father by name, for his writing and analysis of the Phillies’ minor-league system. Now they know her, too.
“My dad said that people actually teared up afterward because of what I did, and now I’m not just known as ‘Steve Potter’s daughter’ at the baseball games,” she said, laughing. “I didn’t even notice people were watching me. I was just in a zone, trying to help.”
The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in commemoration of Florence Nightingale, and Connie Cooper, EdD, RN, CNE, couldn’t be happier.
“The Year of the Nurse is a very generous concept for all nurses globally because we put in a lot of hard work,” she said. “Whether you’re pursuing a PN, ADN, or BSN, it’s the hardest degree you’ll ever pursue. We face so many changes in healthcare across the country, and we’re ready to stand up and say, ‘Yeah, we deserve it!’ We’re here to ensure the health and safety of our patients.”
Dr. Cooper smiled as she recalled the days when nurses wore the classic white uniforms from head to toe.
“It was a privilege to wear the white uniform back then, and I still have my white cap from Illinois Wesleyan University,” she said. “It was a traditional shape with green and black stripes. The black signified being an RN, and the green indicated my school colors. Also, Florence Nightingale, my idol, wore white uniforms.”
The Illinois native has worked in mental health and as a nursing educator across her home state and Indiana, but she is happy to call Louisville her home. The wife of a college football coach, Dr. Cooper said her career often followed her husband’s tenures.
“When he finally retired and moved to Louisville, I asked him, ‘Can this be our final stomping grounds? I’m done with being a gypsy,’ ” she said, laughing.
Once she moved to Louisville, Dr. Cooper started teaching at a university and eventually learned about Galen College of Nursing from one of her doctoral students who worked at the College. She also was aware of some of Galen’s board members. The College’s mission and its dedication to preparing nursing students for healthcare careers were aligned with her own beliefs as an educator. She became the director of the ADN program and eventually was promoted to her current position as dean.
Cooper sees her role as “keeping an understanding of what our faculty, academic success liaisons, and clinical instructors at our Louisville and Hazard campuses are doing and how I can help them,” she said. “It’s kind of like being a nurse because you’re helping others find solutions to problems. We’re always working together, and I get excited to go to work every day.”
February 11, 2020 – Cincinnati, OH – Galen College of Nursing wants to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to walk in a nurse’s shoes during the “Explore Nursing Pathways” event. The interactive event, which will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, February 24 at the campus, 100 E. Business Way #200, will give prospective students and guests hands-on demonstrations with high-tech simulation mannequins.
These realistic simulators respond while participants take blood pressures, listen to heart sounds, and practice first-aid skills. Nurses will be available to answer questions regarding real-life nursing pathways to enter nursing, career development, and job outlook.
As baby boomers age, veteran nurses are retiring in greater numbers, and the demand for nurses is increasing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for registered nurses is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Graduates do not have to wonder about jobs after graduation, for many students are fortunate to have secured employment even before they graduate.
Those who are interested in attending the “Explore Nursing Pathways” event may RSVP by emailing email@example.com. Event numbers will be limited to allow all participants to have a quality experience.
About Galen College of Nursing
Founded 30 years ago, Galen College of Nursing is one of the largest private nursing schools in the United States. With a focus solely on nursing education and a mission to expand access to nursing education, the College offers master’s, baccalaureate and associate degree education and practical/vocational nursing (PN/VN) programs to over 6,000 students on its campuses in Louisville, Ky., Hazard, Ky., San Antonio, Tx., Tampa Bay, Fla., Cincinnati, Oh., and Online. Galen is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. For more information about Galen College of Nursing, visit galencollege.edu.
Galen College of Nursing’s student success course, Galen Pathway to Success (GPS), helps future graduates navigate their pathway to achieve a nursing education. Instructor Deborah Kessler, MSN, RN, is one of the driving forces in GPS at the Louisville campus, and she hopes to guide newly enrolled students toward their destination: a degree in nursing. The course is taught in the ADN, LPN to ADN Bridge, and BSN programs.
We talked with Kessler to find out more about her experience in GPS and how it plays a vital role for Galen students.
What do students learn in GPS?
During the first week of classes, we introduce our new students to Galen’s culture and accountability. We let them know that we’re going to be there every step of the way. In addition, we help them with a schedule and create their work-life balance, which includes their study time and time for themselves.
Our instructors help them with the basics of getting accustomed to reading textbooks. Many of our students are registered for Anatomy and Physiology classes, so just opening that textbook can be overwhelming. There are tons of words and unfamiliar terms, so we show them how to tackle the new vocabulary. Students also learn to pay attention to the objectives on the syllabus and graphical information in the text. They also learn how to maximize their time to study.
GPS was created almost two years ago. How successful is the program?
When GPS rolled out in 2018, we saw our attrition rates in our Anatomy and Physiology classes decrease. We see more students succeed in their first two quarters and make it into nursing classes. Retention from quarter one to quarter two and quarter two to quarter three has increased. It’s exciting that we are giving them better skills at the beginning, so they’re more likely to be successful throughout the nursing programs.
Accountability and expectation of the professionalism of nursing are hardwired from the start. The result is a more qualified Galen graduate.
What kinds of resources do you provide to help students acclimate to the College curriculum?
Students will get an orientation to Canvas, so they learn how to turn in assignments and communicate with their instructors. We inform them about our Student Services and various support in case they are feeling overwhelmed.
We do a lot of faculty advising, helping them understand there’s someone who will be there to listen. We try to make GPS very comfortable for them. In the first week, I make sure that my students have my cell phone number, email, and office phone number to make sure they can contact me.
The faculty advising piece is huge because we’re not seen as only the instructor. When they sit down with us face-to-face, we’ll ask, “OK, how did your first exam go?” or send them a note. If they respond, “Well, I didn’t do so well. I need you to call me.” Then, we’ll talk about it and see what we need to do. By the time students take their second exam, we usually see an increase in self-confidence, which will have an impact on retention.
How well do students adjust online with GPS?
In Louisville, our GPS is online, so you might think there is not much camaraderie. However, when I see a student post to our discussion board, “I didn’t do so well on the test,” another student will quickly respond, “Hey, I have the same problem. We can work together!” Our online students are great at building a cohesive network.
What is your advice to instructors who are interested in teaching GPS courses?
We have fine-tuned our program by teaching the fundamentals of literacy and how to take notes. GPS helps instructors improve their other classes because they help students develop the skills they’ll need later in the nursing program. It’s their opportunity to send students into nursing classes with the right expectations. By working with students in GPS, they will have built a teaching relationship with some of the same students.
By teaching GPS, the instructors learn techniques that can help them step up their game in their other classes. Everything you need to teach GPS is right there for you, and you have an incredible GPS faculty support network. We collaborate and share ideas and make the course better together.
Failure’s not an option. We’re here to ensure our students’ success.
What do you like most about teaching at Galen?
I love seeing the ‘aha!’ moments and the passion in these students. I love helping to form our mission of tomorrow’s nursing. Galen gives me a work-life balance that I can have a flexible schedule so that I can concentrate on my family and work. Teaching our students has tapped into my passion.
LiSandra Washington, MSN, MBA-HCM, RN, has always desired a career in healthcare. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Washington moved to Florida with her mother in 1993 and became a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Two years later, she saw an ad in a Tampa Bay newspaper for the Health Institutes of Tampa Bay, now Galen College of Nursing, and decided to advance her nursing education. She completed the Practical Nursing (PN) program and eventually was among the first graduating class of the LPN to ADN Bridge program. After graduation, she was determined to pay it forward to aspiring nursing students.
“The education I received here was solid,” she said. “It was important to our instructors that we became responsible healthcare providers. I wanted to return to Galen and give back what I received.”
Not only is Washington a proud graduate, but her husband, Jevon Washington, BSN, RN, is one, too. Before they were married, the pair agreed to enroll in Galen’s nursing programs together. He has completed the PN, LPN to ADN Bridge, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs at Galen. Today, he teaches weekly CPR classes at the Tampa Bay campus and works as a home health nurse specializing in wound care.
Washington believes her education has given her many options in nursing over the last 15 years. After graduation, she became a director of nursing for a pediatric home care company. Throughout her career, she has been a case manager, hospice nurse, interim program director, pediatric hematology/oncology nurse, and lead research nurse for a children’s hospital in Tampa.
In 2014, she joined the Tampa Bay campus as an instructor and is now an academic success liaison for the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. She also teaches pharmacology classes online and tutors students in pharmacology on-ground and online sections, fundamentals, maternal child, and ATI remediation. Washington is thrilled she is fulfilling her goal of helping Galen students.
“The PN program is an amazing program and a great stepping stone for students because it gives them a solid foundation and opportunity to start working as healthcare providers and find their passion in nursing,” she said. “When they find what they are passionate about, they will work hard and excel in it.”
Washington advises students to grow both personally and professionally.
“I am always encouraged to see Galen graduates making an impact in the healthcare arena and look forward to seeing them pay it forward one day as well in the workforce,” she said. “There are so many avenues for LPNs to pursue in nursing.”
She credits her teaching style to one of her favorite and current Galen professors.
“Mrs. Theresa Kirk made me feel like a strong student and leader. She made her students connect the dots, and the ‘aha’ moments were my best memories,” Washington said. “She’s one of the reasons I came back to teach. When students get that same ‘aha’ moment, I feel as though I have done my job. I consider it a privilege to be able to pour back into them what she poured into me.”
As a final nod to our 30th anniversary, we interviewed Co-Founder Kathryn Mershon to learn more fascinating details about how she and Humana Co-Founders David Jones and Wendell Cherry decided to open nursing schools to address a severe nursing shortage in the late 1980s.
Mershon has more than 25 years of experience as a senior health care executive. For 13 years, she served as a senior officer of Humana and was responsible for developing corporate strategies for quality, consistency, and cost-effectiveness of nursing practice. She founded and served as president of Humana Health Institutes, known today as Galen College of Nursing.