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Beacon Scholar feels grateful to have job waiting for her after graduation

Beacon Health System and Ivy Tech partnered together in 2022 to create the Beacon School of Nursing to address the nursing shortage in our community and support equitable economic prosperity in underrepresented minorities. This is a first-person perspective from Christy Hargraves, a Beacon Scholar who works as a Nursing Assistant at Memorial Hospital.

“My journey toward becoming a Beacon Scholar started a little over 30 years ago. Now that all my kids are grown and on their own life path I have decided to go back and finish what I started. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was a young child. When I was young, I was in the hospital several times and witnessed what it felt like to have a good nurse and bad nurse and the difference it made. I wanted to be a good nurse.

“I went into nursing school after high school, but due to ‘life happening,’ I was unable to finish. My original plan was to become a pediatric oncology nurse; those St. Jude commercials really got to me. I had completed my first year of nursing school. I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. I would not have been as good of a nurse as I hope that I will be now. I’ve learned a lot in my 52 years, especially in the way of patience and empathy.

“Working in the food industry for many years taught me to multitask and how to work with diverse groups of people. I received an accounting degree that taught me to be organized and gave me a love of paperwork. Give me some spreadsheets and I can be happy for hours. Hopefully, I can use these to become the best nurse I possibly can be. I do hope to continue my education and get my bachelor’s, master’s and possibly become a Nurse Practitioner.

“I’ve worked as a Nursing Assistant for almost 2 years on the 10th floor, which is oncology and hematology. We see a variety of patients, not just those patients who have a cancer diagnosis. I work with the nurse to take vitals, do daily care and assist in treatments, when I can. I have learned a lot from the nurses, who have been very helpful in providing the education from situations that we do not learn in class. I love interacting with my patients and have met some of the best and most interesting people. It gives me a great sense of fulfillment knowing that I may have helped ease some of their pain and stress, and the experience has taught me a lot about the importance of living life to its fullest and appreciating every day.

“Going back for my nursing degree has been a good, scary, stressful, exciting, and fulfilling experience. It is strange to look around the classroom and know that most of my classmates are the same age as my kids. I will not lie, the first year was tough; there were times that I would doubt myself and cry on the way home. But the feeling that I have now, of working toward the goal that I set for myself so long ago, is worth every tear. I have gained so much more self-confidence and a pride in myself that I did not know I was missing. I would do it over in a heartbeat and would encourage anyone else who may think that they are too old to not listen to fear. Just do it.

“I learned about the Beacon Scholar program after I was accepted into the program. It has helped reduce the stresses of paying for my education and having to find a place to work once I graduate. Being a Beacon Scholar has allowed me to focus on my studies and on becoming a good nurse. I would encourage anyone who plans on going into the nursing program at Ivy Tech to consider the Beacon Scholar program. For me it has been a great experience.”

Christy Hargraves
Nursing Assistant
Memorial Hospital of South Bend

Learn more about Beacon Scholar program

Beacon Scholars can focus on their studies knowing that all their tuition, books and school fees for Ivy Tech’s Associate of Science in Nursing Program are fully paid by Beacon. And Beacon Scholars can also rest assured knowing they have a full-time bedside RN career waiting for them following graduation. Learn more about the program and how you or someone you know can become a Beacon Scholar.

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.