Kathy Keyes Fulfilling Her Passion of Becoming a Nurse in her 50s
Kathy knew from a young age she was called to help people in need. She lived near a busy intersection that constantly had automotive accidents. When she and her father would hear the squeal of tires, they would run to the scene with towels and first aid items to assist the injured until the ambulance arrived. Kathy’s father was her biggest inspiration to become a nurse.
Seventeen years ago, Kathy decided to go back to school to become a nurse. But life changed course and she instead obtained her cosmetology license, raised four children and helped her husband on their dairy farm.
“After deciding to sell my salon-day spa about two and half years ago, the door opened and an opportunity presented itself for me to obtain my degree in nursing at the age of 55,” said Kathy. “Timing is everything, God had a plan for me, and it led me to nursing.”
Kathy enrolled in the Professional Nursing Associate’s degree program at the Rasmussen College New Port Richey/West Pasco campus. During her time at Rasmussen, she was the President of RSNA (Rasmussen Student Nursing Association). Kathy’s family members were supportive of her and her decision to go back to school. Her husband, Gary, and son, Steven, encouraged her daily and pushed her to the finish line.
“It was a lot of information to learn in a short amount of time” said Kathy. “Dr. Kay set the stage with her encouraging words and daily messages and posts. She was so encouraging and was a big part of allowing me to continue on my nursing journey strong.” The words of Dr. Kay Fogeltanz, Kathy’s Anatomy and Physiology instructor, echoed in Kathy’s head from her first day to her last.
Sadly, Kathy’s oldest brother suddenly passed away while she was in the nursing program at Rasmussen. All of her instructors and the dean of nursing were extremely compassionate and understanding during the difficult time.
“Their love and concern spoke volumes to me and my family,” Kathy said. “My Dean and instructors reached out to me with encouragement and gave me the strength to finish strong. They proved they were nurses before instructors.”
Kathy graduated in March 2020—amid the quickly evolving COVID-19 pandemic—but that didn’t stop her from pushing forward. She sat for her NCLEX in April. The following month, she accepted a job at Advent Hospital. Kathy says her advisor helped her with her application, mission statement and five-year plan. She also helped Kathy immensely with interviewing tips and preparing for her new role.
As she concludes her first month in the field as a Registered Nurse, Kathy says she is grateful for her time at Rasmussen College. She left Rasmussen feeling confident, knowing the information presented to her would be put into practice safely and effectively, and she looks forward to making an even greater impact in the nursing field for years to come.