Soon-to-be IUSON graduate ready to make an impact

By Jill Jansen

Surviving significant childhood health challenges, Kenneth “KJ” Davis, Jr., knew from an early age he wanted to be in health care and help people. Next month, the Indianapolis native will graduate from IU School of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. As he prepares to enter the nursing profession, KJ answered a few questions about his career choice and his time at IU School of Nursing.

Why did you choose nursing as a career?

KJ: I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives and being a nurse you have the “superpowers” to do that every day. I've always been interested in wanting to do more for vulnerable populations, which in this case are patients in the hospital. I was a preterm baby born on life support at Riley [Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health]. As a young kid, I remember constantly being in the hospital. I have pictures of all my nurses and doctors who took care of me and ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to do something in health care.

What has your experience been like at IU School of Nursing?

KJ: When I was admitted into the nursing program the first thing I did was reach out to Assistant Dean of Student Services Chandra Dyson. I met Chandra in her office the first week of nursing classes and asked her what I could do for the nursing program. She offered me the opportunity to be a student ambassador for the nursing program at IUPUI. I've been a speaker at nursing school inductions, helped at graduation, served as a student representative at nursing Q&A sessions, and given tours for prospective students.

My professors and the clinical faculty have been amazing, guiding me along the pathway to success and providing learning opportunities at clinical sites. In addition, I've found the most supportive and understanding group of friends and to know that we’ll be walking across the stage together very soon is bittersweet.

What will you remember most from your time at IUSON?

KJ: The thing I will remember most is hearing my name called at induction and just that moment of getting into one of the toughest nursing programs in Indiana. I'll also remember that there's always room for growth—in the classroom and outside the classroom.

You’re interested in pursuing a career in intensive care. What about this specialty interests you?

KJ: I want to work with critically ill patients. For me, nursing is about the attitude and understanding you have towards a dying patient and their family members. Everyone reacts differently to certain situations. I am confident that I can handle these difficult situations. The well-being of the patient is what really matters, and I'm willing to go above and beyond to care for the patient and be an emotional support for their family as well. I know that choosing intensive care is the right thing for me. I will always be grateful and proud of my work as a nurse.

What are your plans after graduation?

KJ: I’ll continue to study for the NCLEX, which I will take this summer. I’ve been offered a position as a nurse in the Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Medical Center.