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Student Spotlight: John Cummings, Student in Associate Nursing Program

John Cummings Clinical Group

From left to right: John Cummings, Kaitlyn Robson, Marisa Gargiulo, Rolande Sanon-Chery, and Sergina Laude

Many Labouré students come to nursing as a second career and they bring a unique perspective and an amazing work ethic to the program. Here is John's story about his journey to becoming a registered nurse. 

Tell us about your journey to nursing school. 

I had no intentions of going back to school after graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. After I graduated I sold advertising air time for a television station in New Hampshire. I received my license to sell mutual funds and worked for several of the large mutual fund companies in Boston. I even worked doing stage construction for a small band out of Ireland called U2. I injured my shoulder and ended up going to physical therapy. I was the last appointment of the day and would stay behind talking with my physical therapist about healthcare. I decided I wanted a career with more purpose, so I started taking prerequisite classes related to healthcare and got a job working as a medical assistant. 

Eventually, I became a rehabilitation liaison for Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital and New England Rehabilitation Hospital. It was a clinical marketing job. I worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston. I coordinated discharge plans of patients who had suffered major injuries that required acute level rehabilitation such as strokes, brain injuries, post-cardiac care, or multiple traumas. I would clinically evaluate the patients for appropriate level of care. I worked closely with the MGH and BIDMC staff. It was a great job because it merged my background in communications and sales with the clinical side.

After 15 years of working as a clinical rehabilitation liaison, Medicare changed the regulations and required a healthcare license to do the job. I didn’t want to go back to school, so I left and became a yoga teacher and personal trainer. I immediately missed working within the hospital environment. I missed being part of a clinical team. Ultimately, I really missed the patients. I knew that if I was going to go back to healthcare it would be as a registered nurse because of their diverse skill set. Of all the clinical staff, the nurses always knew the most about the patients because they spent the most time with them. So, I started looking for nursing schools in and around Boston.

Why did you choose to come to Labouré College for your nursing degree? 

I visited a lot of nursing schools. Most of them were only interested in my academics. I thought that they would be interested in my years of experience in the healthcare field. Most of the schools just looked at my transcripts and told me the date to apply. 

My wife, a registered nurse, recommended that I look at Labouré. The admissions team was immediately available to speak with me. I walked in with all of my transcripts and met with Katelyn McCarthy, an admissions counselor. She looked at my transcripts, wrote down a few notes, and then wanted to hear about who I was. Her interest and open-mindedness immediately made me want to attend Labouré. She told me about all the support that Labouré offers the students and I felt like it was a good fit. She told me, in so many words, that students invest in Labouré and Labouré invests in their students and won’t give up on them. Life happens and you need a school that will support you. 

What do you like about attending Labouré College?

When I first thought about going back to school, I assumed I’d be in classes with a lot of young, recent high school graduates under 20 years old. Labouré was not what I expected because it has such a diverse student population. My class is made up of the nicest, most interesting group of people. I believe that this is because Labouré focuses not only on your academics, but who you are as a person. So many of my classmates have prior Bachelor’s degrees and even Masters degrees. Another strength of Labouré is that students are from all over the world. Some of my best friends are from Africa, Haiti, and Jamaica. Working and learning with such a diverse group of classmates has been a learning experience in itself. We all have different skill sets that we can use to reach our common goal of becoming registered nurses. The diversity allows you to look at solutions to problems from many different angles which is crucial to critical thinking, a core concept of the program. I also really liked how accessible everyone is at the school. The faculty and staff say their doors are always open because they are. 

What do you think the future holds for you in nursing? 

I’m graduating in May 2018 so this has been on my mind lately. I initially thought I just wanted to go back to my old job as a clinical rehabilitation liaison. I just finished clinical at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton and the brand-new ICU facility has sparked new interests.

I also like the idea of preventative medicine and I could see myself in several different settings.  I’m interested in cardiac programs where they are focused on preventative measures and detecting early signs of cardiac disease. I think that after I pass my boards I will go on as many interviews as possible. 

Nursing school has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the great thing about earning my degree in nursing is that there’s just a world of opportunities out there. 

There are so many opportunities for nurses. My wife has been a registered nurse for 21 years and only worked as a staff nurse on the floor for the first three of those years. Healthcare is changing so quickly and nurses are so well-trained that they can take on many of these new roles. Some nurses have actually moved into hospital CEO positions. There is also nursing education to look into. With the increasing demand for nurses there will also be an increased demand for nurses with educational training. Honestly, in five years I could end up in a position that has yet to be created which is really exciting.

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