The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Second Degree Accelerated track began with its first cohort in May of last year, made possible by the collaborative effort of the Community Education Coalition (CEC), Economic Opportunities through Education (EcO) Network, Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON) at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC), and East Indiana Area Health Education Center (EI-AHEC).

Evan Smillie is a student in this first cohort and is finishing his third semester of five. After graduating from Franklin University of Ohio with an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Management, he worked in a private practice dialysis center. His experience alongside nurses and physician assistants offered a front-row view of the clinicians’ passion for and dedication to patient care. It is here that Evan decided to become a nurse.

evanWhen Evan’s wife accepted a position with Cummins, he began taking prerequisite courses at IUPUC for another accelerated BSN program. Once Skill UP! funding and Indiana University approval was received, he quickly changed course and became the first applicant to the new track. According to Dr. Beth Sharer, Division Head for the IUSON at IUPUC, “By 2020, Indiana will face a shortage of 18,000 nurses and our region is working hard to make sure we are able to educate those interested in these high-paying and high-demand jobs. Students with previous undergraduate degrees are able to adapt quickly to the demands of an intensive, short program due to their previous academic and work experiences.”

Evan’s faculty for his Adaptive Processes course, Dr. Lana Watson, described his academic and clinical performance as outstanding. “Evan is a fantastic student. He is proactive and motivated with a positive attitude. He is helpful, responsible, and empathetic. Exactly who you would want on a unit.”

IUSON at IUPUC students learn in one hospital service area for the duration of their clinical education, spending less time on boarding and orienting to a new hospital system and more time with clinicians and patients. This has proven beneficial for Evan as a second degree seeking student. He says that his preceptors and healthcare professionals he works beside “strive for excellence in patient care. They are friendly and personable toward the nursing students, creating a supportive and constructive learning environment.”

Evan enjoys therapeutic communication with patients and, after graduation, would like to continue his education and obtain a Master’s of Science in Nursing to become a family nurse practitioner.