When you ask University of Kentucky alum Lacey Buckler "what does 'see blue.' mean to you?" a huge smile instantly appears on the Morganfield, Kentucky native's face.
"Every time I hear the 'see blue.' commercials, I get cold chills because I've been there, that was me," Buckler said. "I came onto campus from a small town and didn't know anybody and was afforded lots of opportunities here to grow and now I 'see blue.' in everything I do every day!"
She began her career as a critical care nurse in the UK HealthCare Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before moving into a case management position.
It was at that point she decided to return to school for a second degree. Upon graduation Buckler became a nurse practitioner in cardiology, but she wasn't finished with her academic career just yet.
As she worked toward her doctoral degree, she continued to build her leadership credentials.
"I moved into the director role for advance practice and also cardiovascular nursing and over the past couple years, moved into a chief assistant nurse role," Buckler explained.
So what is a typical day like for Buckler in this position?
"There is definitely never a dull moment," she said. "UK HealthCare is a very busy academic medical center, and we consistently have a large volume of patients moving through our system. Ensuring my teams have what they need to care for the patients while balancing planning and preparing for what’s coming next is how I spend many of my days."
While the day-to-day to-do lists keep her busy, she never loses sight of the big picture.
"The most fulfilling part of my job is seeing patients get better," said Buckler. "I'm involved with the UK transplant program here for heart transplantation, so that's a huge, neat part of UK HealthCare …seeing those patients get better and going on with their lives with a new chance on life is really an awesome experience."
The native Kentuckian says she relies on the lessons learned and connections made during her academic career.
"The College of Nursing is really strong," Buckler said. "I had a great relationship with the faculty, and they were all happy to share experiences with me and mentor me through the process. Through that experience, I've been able to build connections here and move up in my career."
What advice would she give current students just now thinking about what they want to do in life?
"Pursue your dreams," said Buckler. "UK opens up a wealth of opportunities and doors for people, so take advantage of the resources they have here so you can do what you want to do. Anything is possible!"
Watch the video above to learn why it's so important for Buckler to serve in a role that helps so many people from across the Commonwealth.