Welcome to Baker College's Spotlight feature, a series of brief interviews with notable BC students, faculty and alumni who are making news and reaching new heights in their educational and professional pursuits.
This edition of Spotlight features Kelly Wheeler, a graduate of the Baker College School of Nursing who is now a Registered Nurse in the Medical ICU at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit. Here we learn more about Kelly and her professional path and passions.
Baker College (BC): What degree did you earn from Baker College?
Kelly Wheeler (KW): I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2019 from Baker College in Auburn Hills.
BC: Why did you choose Baker College for your educational pursuits?
KW: I chose Baker for the cardiac sonography program originally. Baker is one of the few colleges in Michigan that offer this program. Also, Baker has excellent scholarships, and they offer free tutoring.
BC: What is your current professional role?
KW: I currently work as a Registered Nurse in the Medical ICU at Ascension St. John in Detroit.
BC: What inspired you to pursue a career in Nursing?
KW: After being at Baker for a year, I realized all the career opportunities available with a nursing degree. I have always loved to learn, and nursing provided the lifelong learning opportunities that I wanted. Additionally, it allowed me to work more closely with patients, provide more care for them, and learn more about the whole body. I feel like nursing is the right path for me because it allows me to serve the public in a unique way that only nurses can.
BC: What were your career goals when you enrolled at BC? How do they compare to where you are today?
KW: When I first started at Baker, my career goals consisted of getting a degree to find a job- because that is what I was supposed to do. The more I learned, the more motivated I got with my education and my life. I realized that nursing would be the best career path for me because I could continue my education and continue getting degrees and certifications in any area I was interested in. Today, I am in an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. When I started college, I never imagined that I would have wanted to pursue a master's degree in any subject.
BC: What do you like best about your work in nursing? What do you find most challenging?
KW: I absolutely love my job. I love having the opportunity to help people when they need the most help. Being there for people when they are vulnerable and sick is an experience unlike any other.
While I love this aspect of my job, it is also a challenge. Sometimes we lose the battles with our patients' illnesses. As unfortunate as this is, almost every patient I have would die without our interventions. Every person that lives is a success of our care.
BC: How do you feel your time at Baker College has contributed to your professional successes?
KW: Baker College contributed to my professional success by giving me the knowledge and skills that I possess to care for my patients. The nursing staff at Baker are truly amazing and taught me more than I could have imagined. They also instilled in me the standards of which I hold myself to today.
BC: You've worked in a Step Down Unit, the MICU and are now pursuing your Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree. What has inspired your career journey?
KW: My experiences and my patients have inspired my career journey. I started on a floor that I knew I could learn endless amounts of information on with the mindset of moving to the ICU setting in the future. After the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew I was ready to make the leap. Once I moved to the ICU, I knew I was ready to help people even more. I figured the best way to do this was to start on my master's degree. The more knowledge I have, the better care I can provide.
BC: What best piece of advice would you share with current college students?
KW: Take everything one day at a time. It is okay to be overwhelmed, but don't stop. Try to stay positive and focus on what your future will look like.
BC: What would you want others to know about Baker College?
KW: Baker College will give you problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The nursing team is so supportive. People at Baker want to see you succeed.
BC: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
KW: My first job on the Step Down Unit was a clinical that I attended through Baker. I got to see a wide range of hospitals and floors, and I also got great real-life experience with my community nursing class. I felt very prepared to start my career as an RN once I graduated.
To learn more about Baker College’s nursing programs, visit the School of Nursing webpage.