Waiting to go back to school until the age of 39, Randy, now 44, is completing his final year of his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Indiana University Kokomo.
He has worked in construction since he graduated from high school sharing that he loves the outdoors and is a high-energy person. One day, however, he realized that something in his life was missing.
“I felt like I was stuck in a rut and there was more to life than I was allowing myself to experience,” said Randy. “The only way things change though is if you change them.”
Inspired by his mother’s career in nursing, he decided to enroll at IU Kokomo, continuing his family’s tradition. Dorothy Lorenz earned her nursing degree in 1981, and his brothers, Lloyd and Doyle, completed their undergraduate degrees here in the early 1990s, before going to medical school.
Randy plans to honor his mother at the annual nurses’ recognition by being pinned with her pin upon graduation.
While he follows in her footsteps into nursing, he has chosen a different career path within the field. He currently works as an emergency room technician at Community Howard Regional Health and said that is the best opportunity for him. ER technicians check vital signs, perform CPR when needed, and assist with emergency care as directed by a doctor.
“I watched my mother as a floor nurse when I was younger and it just didn’t look too appealing to me,” said Randy. “The IU Kokomo nursing program has opened my eyes to the multiple opportunities in nursing.”
However, making it to graduation didn’t come without struggle.
Randy had to retrain his brain to get accustomed to education again. He also has to balance his career and make sure he spends enough time with his family.
Bridget Whitmore, assistant dean of pre-licensure program and clinical associate professor, said he has been a great role model for the younger students.
Meeting him when he was a sophomore, Whitmore said the amount of maturity and growth she saw in him by the time he was a junior was outstanding.
“He would come visit me after every test and we would evaluate which questions he could do better on,” she said. “He was very focused on learning the content.”
Whitmore said nontraditional students and younger students bring skillsets to one another that help them excel together as a team. Nontraditional students bring skills from already being in the workplace and younger students bring skills such as computer technology.
“Randy is a great leader who never loses sight of his patients,” she said.
Story written by Emilie Hubbard. Emilie is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.