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Payton Kuhnle, '15

Payton KuhnleIndiana State University was essential to preparing me for a career in the medical field.  No one can accurately put in to words nor simulate in a lab the complexities of nursing, but I cannot imagine spending my preparatory years anywhere else. ISU's Nursing and Honors programs gave me opportunities and resources I would not have found elsewhere, and my experiences challenged and altered my outlook on life and how I strive to conduct myself daily.  ISU shaped me as a nurse, and I will remain forever grateful for that!

The first step in my career was accepting a position in a nursing residency program near Nashville, Tennessee.  I completed this program on a Progressive Care Unit that specialized in cardiac, stroke, and epilepsy care.  I learned to recognize my strengths and weaknesses, and the importance of teamwork was reinforced repeatedly during my time on that unit.  Progressive Care gave me a great foundation, and I found a family in my coworkers that supported and encouraged me as a new nurse.  I am currently working in Critical Care and helping develop a heart failure program to assist a special population of my patients after they leave the hospital.

To be truthful, I struggled to transition from student to nurse.  This is an extremely common issue for new graduates in such a high-stress field, and it is unfortunately not discussed often enough.  In my first years out of the university setting, I realized one thing: nothing can prepare you for what is required to be a successful RN.  No nursing program can make you feel competent enough when your patient's status declines instead of improves, and no clinical setting can make you brave enough to call a surgeon at 4am to tell him you have a bad feeling about one of his patients.  It is emotionally and physically challenging to balance the needs of your patients with your own self-care.  You will be pulled in a variety of different directions hourly, and prioritization is a skill you have to learn and put in to practice. You will feel defeated, and there will be shifts that make you question your career choice, but I can promise that it gets better.  You are enough.  Nursing never becomes easier, you simply grow in to the challenge.  Give yourself some grace, and learn to love what you have spent so long preparing to do. You are an asset to your workplace, and you are so much more than just a nurse.  


Greg Bierly, Dean

Pickerl Hall 110
Indiana State University
812.237.3676 fax

Office Hours:
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM