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Nursing school is bridge to medical school

February 24, 2017
KOKOMO, Ind. — A community nursing class at Indiana University Kokomo was a turning point for Shawn Gabriel, giving him confidence to apply – and get accepted – to medical school.

“It made me interested in long-term care for patients, being invested in my community, and understanding what changes need to be made to promote health,” he said. “Community health showed medicine as a relevant career, one that serves a tangible, ongoing good for patients. If it wasn’t for nursing school, I wouldn’t have even considered medical school, but it was a good way to get my foot in the door.”

Gabriel, 26, recently learned he was accepted to his first choice school, the IU School of Medicine. He anticipates enrolling at the Muncie campus.

“I’m most incredibly excited and overwhelmed at the prospect of being able to pursue the career of my dreams,”he said. “It’s a relief to finally know what I will be doing for the next several years.”

The community nursing class, which included service projects such as assisting with pre-enrollment physicals for Head Start preschool students, renewed his interest in being a doctor. His job as a medical scribe for Dr. Martha Hoshaw in Russiaville also gave him encouragement.

As a scribe, he assists Hoshaw as she treats patients, entering patients’ medical history into their electronic medical records, documenting the examination, and entering test results, allowing for a smoother process for both doctor and patient.

Working with her gives him an example of the kind of care provider he wants to be, and shows him the importance of being able to communicate with his patients, with compassion and caring.

“She is, in my opinion, an excellent doctor,” he said. “She really cares about her patients, and that makes her job worthwhile. Whatever type of medicine I go into, I think it’s good to be able to communicate with people.”

Nursing school gives him an edge in that area.

“It gave me a background in clinical assessment, people skills to help patients, and taught me to be a professional,” he said. “Any kind of clinical confidence you develop as a nurse will be a huge boon as a medical student. As a nursing student, I’ve learned to read patients, and gain their trust. A hospital can be an intimidating place, and patient care can be intimidating if you aren’t used to it.”

Gabriel’s experiences in the School of Nursing set him up for success — including his opportunity to attend a national conference for student nurses in Phoenix, as a member of the campus Student Nurses Association.

“I met nurses working in all areas of the nursing field,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much you could do with this degree, from patient care, to administration, to case management. A nursing degree opens doors to many possibilities.”

He’s also impressed with the small classes, and caring faculty.

“The professors are accessible, and they actually know who we are,” he said. “We have professors who are doing important research in our field, but they also know and care about their students, and take time to work with them. When I needed letters of recommendation for medical school, I had faculty members who could write great letters because they knew what I had done, not just what grade I got in their class.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana University Kokomo

Last updated: 02/27/2017