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Beacon Scholar program helped Elkhart General nurse carry on a family legacy

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 Erica Poley, RN, a Beacon Scholar who works at in the Progressive Care Unit at Elkhart General Hospital. She graduated from Ivy Tech in May 2023.

“My grandmother was a nurse, and my mother is a nurse. I’ve always loved helping people, so I knew when I was young that this was what I also wanted to do. But I became a single mom at 19 and had many years of hardship before I finally started working toward my own nursing degree.

“Someone came to one of my classes when the Beacon Scholar program started, and it sounded like a really good opportunity to jump-start my career. A program that is not only going to help you financially get through nursing school, but also guarantee you a starting position as a brand new nurse? What more could you ask for?

“I’ve always been drawn toward cardiac nursing, and after I worked my first shift on the Progressive Care Unit at Elkhart General Hospital, I fell in love and knew right away it’s where I wanted to work. The favorite part of my day is anything I am educating patients. Patients feel so much better when they understand the whole picture of what is happening to them. I enjoy leading and always step in to help people who are new or aren’t familiar with the unit. Eventually, I would like to become a critical care nurse. After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll become a nurse educator one day.

“I’ll never regret coming to Beacon or becoming part of the Beacon Scholar program. It was the best choice I’ve made with my career. I love the nursing education I am receiving at Ivy Tech and am grateful for the resources that are available to me. I expect to be with Beacon for a long time.”

Erica Poley, RN
Progressive Care Unit (PCU)
Elkhart General Hospital

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.