Here at the College of Nursing, we pride ourselves in our students who devote countless hours preparing to enter the field of health care as nurse leaders. As a top-ranked program, we produce nurse scientists, educators and practitioners who are dedicated to improving the health of communities in Kentucky and around the world.
From living in the Interprofessional Healthcare Residential College to serving as a student ambassador, nursing students have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Visit our Student Governance page to learn more.
Learn about our students and hear why they chose to become nurses:
Joshua Miller '15
"I originally came to UK as a finance major and planned to sell real estate. I wanted to help people find a place they could call home. But fast-forward five years and in three short months I will be graduating nursing school. I honestly wasn’t sure in the beginning why I decided to switch majors to become a nurse, but I felt the calling and I decided to go for it. Over the past few years I have discovered that there is no other way in which to help people more than to be a nurse. As nurses, we see patients on the worst day of their lives and my goal is to help turn the negative into positive and to make that day the best that it can be given their situation.”
Joe Lohr '16
"My name is Joe Lohr and I am a second semester junior in the nursing program. I am fostering a service dog through 4 Paws for Ability. Her name is Tempest, from the video game litter, and she is a five-month-old Golden Lab. I chose to go into nursing because I have a passion for helping people. Putting a smile on the faces of the patients that have had a bad day is the best reward a nurse can get, and every time I can make that happen, it confirms why I chose to become a nurse."
Keelie Dyson '16
“It’s funny because I thought I wanted to study business and communications- that’s where I went originally. But I took my first class and realized it wasn’t for me, so I wanted to try something in the medical field. It has good job stability, people seemed to love it and I have family members who are nurses. I took my first anatomy courses and I fell in love with learning about how unique the body is and applying that to our patients’ health. During my first clinical, the first person I actually ever took care of told me, ‘If you take care of every patient the way you took care of me today, then you will be the best nurse.’ From that point forward, I thought, ‘Okay, this must be for me.’”
Hannah Schigel '18
“I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. When I toured the nursing program here, everyone seemed so supportive and the seniors were talking about graduating. They said, ‘We don’t mention the g word. We don’t want to leave this program, the professors are all so awesome.” One said a professor got coffee with them before clinical—the professors just seemed really enthused about helping the students succeed. I actually wanted to be a teacher my whole life, and then my junior year I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll do nursing…’ My mom’s a nurse. She didn’t work when I was growing up, but I saw the flexible lifestyle and nursing has a lot of teaching in it, so for me it was more hands-on. I want to be a mom, so I want to be able to leave and come back or have my own practice so it fits everything I’ve wanted.”
Garrett Payne '17
“I’m studying to become a nurse because I want to have more contact with my patients. I didn’t want to be chronically stuck diagnosing patients—I actually want to be with them during the healing process. I work at Eastern State Hospital in psychiatrics. Every once in awhile we have a patient who gets better through nursing interventions and medications and it’s always such a great thing to see because a lot of mental health patients never see any recovery or improvement. Seeing any sort of little difference—even if someone just recognizes you—always reinforces my decision to go to nursing school. After I graduate I’m going to work at UK for two years. Then I’m going to graduate school to get my PhD and teach but I’m also considering a nurse anesthetist position.”
Grace Warren '16
“I never considered being a nurse because I never thought I was good at math or science. But I’ve always known that I wanted to do something with people, because I really love people. So when I was a senior in high school, my great uncle became really sick. It was on Christmas Eve, and my mom and I traveled to this tiny hospital in Indiana to be with him. He had pneumonia and was 91. There was a nurse in this small ICU who was just amazing, and her care for my uncle got me thinking that nursing might be something I would want to do. And now... I’m a senior in nursing school at UK! I am excited to have my degree because it will allow me to take care of people in their most vulnerable place and I will be there for them during their most raw moments of humanity. It is truly an honor for me to get to take care of someone like that, and that's why I study and work for this degree—because quality nursing care is made of both compassion and of critical nursing knowledge. Partnering these things together makes you a good nurse, and during the past four years I've figured out that that's what I want to be: a really good nurse."
Darrian Shorey '16
“You have to put yourself in the patient’s shoes. You have to go in their room with a smile even if you get a report beforehand that they’re grumpy. They’re in the hospital, they’re sick, they might be dying—I probably wouldn’t be the happiest person in the world either. So I go in with a smile, introduce myself and ask them what they want me to call them. I establish a relationship with them. I made a grumpy patient smile a couple of weeks ago and the other nurses were shocked, but it’s just about putting a smile on your own face, being kind and understanding your patient even if they aren’t kind back.”
Caroline Cunningham '18
"I volunteered at hospitals almost every year of high school and I loved it. I worked in different departments to see different aspects—sometimes I was with patients on a regular floor or with mothers and their babies post-delivery. I did things like OR distribution so I was behind the scenes and saw how they clean the tools and set them up for surgeries. It was great exposure and I just really felt a calling to it. I love the College of Nursing because once you’re in the program, you can finally take a deep breath—you’re in and you really get to meet the faculty. They’re very successful so you’re inspired by their experiences and stories. They’re also encouraging; you know that it will be a difficult three years ahead, but they’re going to help you get through it as much as they can.”
Alli Overfield '18
"I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, and I definitely struggled deciding what I wanted to be because I’m passionate about so many things. I felt like nursing made sense and encompassed all of my passions and strengths. I’m trying to keep an open mind but I know I’m going to work in peds—kids just bring so much joy to the world. Recently, I watched Dr. Fontaine’s recent lecture on practicing mindfulness in my NUR 211 class. I asked the UNAAC officers if they thought sophomore nursing students would be interested in a yoga class. It’ll give students time to center themselves and take a break. We’re taught to take the best care of our patients no matter who comes in the door just because they’re human beings. But sometimes you need to take care of yourself first and say, ‘Well I’m a human being too.’”