KOKOMO, Ind. — From the time she was six years old, Sharmaine Ellison knew she wanted to be a nurse.
Growing up in Kokomo as the daughter of a single mother, she appreciated the chance to earn her degree.
I knew my mom could barely afford to send me to college, but she was determined someone in her family was going to get a degree,” said Ellison. Though her mother passed away from breast cancer in 1997, Ellison knows she would be proud of her accomplishments.
One thing she pushed was that she always wanted me to earn a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “She would say, ‘I knew you could do it.’ She believed in all of us, she was just that type of person.”
Having earned both an associate and bachelor’s degree in nursing at Indiana University Kokomo, her current role is in quality resources at Community Howard Regional Health. Now, she’s learning management skills to excel in that job, through the Master of Public Management (M.P.M.) program.
After completing her A.S.N., Ellison worked and began her family, which delayed her return to school. IU Kokomo’s R.N. to B.S.N. cohort program, which provides a way for working nurses to complete a bachelor’s degree in about a year, was the perfect fit. That degree gave her a new opportunity when she was downsized out of a nursing job.
A co-worker told her about a job at Community Howard Regional Health in quality resources – a position that required a bachelor’s degree. “If I hadn’t been able to earn my degree, I wouldn’t have the job I have today,” she said.
It allowed me to take my career up a level, to see that I could do more than bedside nursing.”
While IU Kokomo offers a Master of Science in Nursing, she chose the M.P.M. program, calling it a better fit for what she does. In quality assurance, she reviews patient charts, assuring that all treatment is based on evidence-based medicine, and that medical staff did all they were supposed to do for that patient.
The M.P.M. gives me a different perspective,” she said. “I can take this business degree, and apply it to the medical field. It works, and I have a vision for it. Getting a master’s degree is stepping up my skills another level, and combining it with my nursing degree.”
I’ve just always come back to IU Kokomo,” said Ellison, A.S.N. ’87, B.S.N. ’00. “It’s just always been a lifesaver for me.”
She is passionate about serving as a member of the IUAA Kokomo Region Board, and proud of the growth the campus has experienced since her student days – noting that when she was earning her first degree, the campus consisted of two buildings.
A member of the alumni board since 2001, she has served as vice president, secretary, and co-chaired the Senior Salute. Ellison is also a member of the IUAA Executive Council.
I love alumni events held on campus, like Homecoming, awards ceremonies, Cougar basketball games, and the Angel Walk.
There are great things going on at IU Kokomo,” she added. “Many of us would not be in the professions we are, or have achieved success in life if it weren’t for our time here.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.