From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the military to Bellin College, James Boddy’s journey to become a family nurse practitioner has been a unique one. Born and raised in Iron Mountain, Mich., James originally attended Michigan Tech and earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. After working for more than a year as a personal trainer, he decided he needed a change and joined the U.S. Army in 2010.
Boddy served as an active duty medic for over three years at both Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Stewart in Georgia. This was the first step toward his ultimate goal of becoming a physician’s assistant. He was assigned to a cavalry scout squadron in the 3rd Infantry Division, in which he trained alongside the scouts in wartime exercises and movements, while also providing medical care to soldiers in his unit.
“Medics receive a civilian EMT certification, but also learn critical care skills geared toward common wartime injuries like gunshot wounds and amputations,” said Boddy. “We worked remotely with a lot of autonomy and had to improvise often. We learned to treat injuries without the ideal tools and how to really think outside the box.”
Following active duty, he worked as a financial planner and transitioned to the Army Reserve for another six years. He knew his true calling was the medical field, so he moved to Wisconsin in 2016 to complete his BSN as a junior transfer student at Bellin College.
“My experience as a medic definitely helped me when it came to critical care and medications, but I was never a CNA, so I had to work harder to gain those basic nursing skills in a hospital setting,” said Boddy.
Boddy graduated from Bellin College with his BSN in May 2018 and now works as a part-time RN at Wisconsin Veterans Home at King in Waupaca, Wis. There, he spends his time in a role caring for patients and managing other healthcare workers on the floor. He is also enrolled as a full-time student in the FNP program at Bellin College and will graduate in May 2020.
“I would like to work in the Veterans Affairs system or in orthopedics, preferably in a warm climate like the southwest,” said Boddy. “I can appreciate the struggles that are unique to veterans. It’s not easy to experience the things we have experienced during our time in the military, and I hope to be a great asset to fellow vets.”
His advice to those looking to make a career change or pursue another degree: “Stop thinking about it and do it,” said Boddy. “Have a plan and, if you are passionate about it, pursue it.”