Destined to be a nurse

By: Courtney Harvey
BSN 15-Month Program
Class of 2017

My name is Courtney Harvey and I am a recent Bellin College graduate, as of May 2017, from the 15-Month BSN cohort. My time at Bellin College flew by quickly, because that’s the pace that the 15-Month program moves at!  I’ve had some amazing experiences in this program, and every step of the way has reinforced the fact that I was destined to be a nurse! 

I was raised in St. Germain, Wisconsin, a very small tourist town in northern Wisconsin, tucked between Eagle River and Minocqua. I didn’t find the path to medicine in the traditional way. No one in my immediate family is a nurse or doctor. During my senior year of high school, I had enough credits to graduate early and had all of my core classes satisfied. I planned on attending UW-Stevens Point in the fall, and I fully intended to enjoy my senior year and take a few college credits at our local community college prior to graduation. A very astute guidance counselor encouraged me to take one class that would challenge me that final year. I chose Honors Anatomy and little did I know, it would ignite a spark within.

By my junior year of college, I knew I wanted to be a nurse but I wasn’t prepared for how challenging it was to get into nursing school. So, I stayed at Stevens Point and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration and a Minor in Business Administration. My time at UWSP was well spent because I have been told many times over that this degree coupled with a BSN will afford me countless opportunities in the future. I decided to pursue a fast-track nursing program upon graduation.

Bellin College was the first tour I took, and the last tour I took. I knew nothing else could compare to the educational experience they were offering. Having come from a huge university system where you are just a number, to the intimacy offered by Bellin College, I knew my success was all but guaranteed. Small class sizes and the small student to teacher ratio was such a welcomed change. From day one, I felt that every Professor, every simulation lab, every clinical rotation, has had my success in mind first and foremost. This is a learning environment designed to produce competent, confident and qualified healthcare professionals.

As I look back on the last year and a half, I am most proud of the instrumental part I played in bringing Love Your Melon to Bellin College and getting it established as an official Student Organization. Love Your Melon is an apparel brand run by college students from around the country on a mission to put a hat on the head of every child in America battling pediatric cancer. It made perfect sense to me that a college like Bellin, dedicated to the healthcare profession, would be a great fit for Love Your Melon. 

  Within the first week of attending Bellin College, I met with Dr. Nancy Burruss, Dean of Student Services, in regards to starting a Love Your Melon organization on campus. Luckily, she too loved the idea of creating this organization and loved what our mission stood for. Over the following few weeks, during the busy first session of nursing school, I worked with Dr. Burruss, and Administrative Assistant Emily Caelwaerts, to connect all of the pieces to establish our crew. We designed applications that were passed throughout many classrooms, selected our 20-person crew, held elections for leadership positions, and began to spread the word of our mission. 

Over the past several months, our crew has had the honor of hosting three amazing donation events for children that either has successfully beat cancer or were in the process of battling cancer. The joy we were able to bring these children and their families, even if just for one evening, has been some of the most rewarding and incredible days of my time at Bellin College. These experiences have solidified the fact that I want to become a pediatric oncology nurse one day, so that I can continue to try to bring a few smiles to even the smallest of children that, are the strongest fighters and possess the biggest hearts. I have been honored to be the founder and the Captain of an amazing Crew during my time at Bellin, and I have every confidence that I am entrusting the future of the Love Your Melon Bellin College Campus Crew to capable hands that will carry the mission forward!

In May, I accepted a position in the Nurse Residency program at UW Health in Madison and will start in the Hospital Medicine Unit this summer at the end of July. It’s been a long-term dream of mine to work for UW Hospital, and to land this job right out of college is once again a tribute to the outstanding education I’ve received at Bellin College. I know my future is bright, and I look very forward to a long and highly rewarding career thanks to everyone at Bellin College who has played a part in preparing me for this next phase of life. I cannot wait to begin my career as a registered nurse!

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