When the housing market bubble burst in 2008, it sealed the deal for Jimmy Randle to find his true life’s calling. As a car salesman, he saw how the financial crisis impacted his customers not only at home, but on the dealer’s lot, and he felt it was time to take a new path.
After many years working on commission, he knew he wanted economic stability and to work in public service – in an environment where he could help people and no two days would be the same. One day, he came across a story online about nurses and thought, “I could do that!”
He did the research on the path he would need to take. He had to be sure it was what he really wanted. He had to be sure he had the will to do it.
In 2014 and 39 years old, Randle enrolled as a nursing student at Southeast Missouri State University, and it’s changed his whole life. Now a senior, expecting to graduate in December, he’s looking forward to the many possibilities that his new career might take him.
On his inspiration for becoming a nurse:
In 2012, I decided to become a certified nursing assistant before I ever took a nursing prerequisite course, and I absolutely loved it. I haven’t stopped since. My reason for being in nursing became something more when my father was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, and his condition went from bad to worse after several cerebral vascular accidents. I wanted to help take care of my father. Unfortunately, I never got that chance. Four months after informing him of my acceptance into Southeast’s nursing program, and in the middle of my first semester, he passed away. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to share with him my acceptance into the program, and now I am more determined to complete my goal of becoming a nurse.
On what excites him about his chosen career:
The thing that excites me the most about nursing is that the field is so wide open. It is not all bedside nursing, which is probably what the average person sees when they picture a nurse. There is an abundance of opportunities beyond the bedside. There is case management, social work, education, floor manager, infection control and forensics, just to name a few. You can become a professor or go into advanced practice and become a nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, midwife or clinical nurse specialist. My choices are endless.
I have learned that no matter where I am, if I am to be a successful nurse, I must be able to think critically, because the lives of others are in my hands. I also have to be an advocate for my patients, because often times I may be the only one in their corner. It’s important to also be compassionate, because my patients may be vulnerable and at the worst moment of their life. They will look to me as their nurse to help them.
This semester, I am completing my clinical requirement for adult health and critical care at Saint Francis Medical Center. I’ve taken reports from the previous shift’s nurse, assessed and charted my own patient assessments, passed out medications, hung IV solutions and participated in a rapid response to a patient who was eventually sent to the ICU (intensive care unit).
As a nurse extern at SoutheastHEALTH, I’ve also gained first-hand experience of the day-to-day life of a nurse. With each new rotation, I get the opportunity to assist in the care of various types of patients and have more in-depth practice of what I’m learning in the classroom.
On why he chose Southeast:
I was living in Virginia when I began my path to becoming a nurse. When I moved back home to Cape Girardeau, Southeast was the obvious choice. It’s the best nursing program in the area, and one of the best in the country. The experiences I’ve had through Southeast’s nursing program have contributed to my success in and out of the classroom. The courses literally pull us out of the classroom and into the surrounding communities and hospitals, including mental health patients in Farmington, Missouri, pediatric patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, gerontology patients in elderly care, and the critically ill in Cape Girardeau. I’ve had the opportunity to see a broad spectrum of patients in multiple settings, and it has broadened my thinking about patient care and diversity.
I have experienced a number of great moments at Southeast, but what I will remember and cherish the most is how my professors and classmates supported me when my father passed away. The Student Affairs Committee allowed me to take some time off and re-enroll the following semester. Throughout my time here, I’ve always felt that my professors who knew my story were and still are rooting for me to keep going and succeed. For that, I will be forever grateful, and will never forget it.
On his future goals:
During my remaining time at Southeast, I want to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can and focus on transferring that knowledge to the clinical rotations I have left to complete. Along the way I want to offer guidance and support to my fellow and younger classmates. After I graduate, I want to apply for an externship at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, or work at one of the area hospitals in an ICU and cardiovascular progressive care unit. I also hope to further my education for more advanced practice opportunities.