Kasey Pretty has wanted to be a nurse for over 13 years.
It was during a one-week stay at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that 8-year-old Pretty decided she wanted to be like the nurses who made her feel comfortable and calm during that scary time.
Pretty, 21, graduated from Ivy Tech in May 2019 with an associate degree in nursing.
“For me, this was the fastest possible way I could become a registered nurse,” Pretty said, regarding Ivy Tech’s nursing program.
At Ivy Tech, Pretty was able to complete her prerequisite classes for the nursing program in one year. Also, because registered nurses are only required to have an associate degree, she was able to complete the entire program in two years.
“I would not have gotten that with a university,” Pretty said. “I would have been on a waiting list, and it would have taken a lot more time and money.”
During Ivy Tech’s nursing program, Pretty and her fellow classmates were taught how to administer vaccines, how to take care of patients and about the concepts of nursing from practicing or retired nurses.
Pretty said that beyond teaching them the material, the professors were always very supportive and made sure their students were taking care of themselves in addition to their schoolwork.
One of these encouraging instructors, Pretty said, was assistant professor Lori Grubbs, who was always ready to listen, help and provide words of encouragement.
“She was always telling me, ‘Wow, you’ve come so far’,” Pretty said. “I needed that. Hearing the positive reinforcement was great from her.”
Pretty said she credits professors like Grubbs and Ivy Tech itself for connecting her to her previous job as a patient care assistant at Highpoint Health.
During her second semester of the nursing program, Pretty and her classmates completed their clinicals at Highpoint Health. During their orientation, people from the hospital said they were looking for nursing students to be PCAs, or nurses’ aides.
Pretty said she was unsure about applying, but one of her professors encouraged her to complete the application and even advocated for her to the employers.
As a PCA, Pretty’s job was to talk to patients, walk them to and from certain areas and ensure they felt comfortable.
“It was a really nice way for me to get patient care experience before I started as a real nurse, so I could have an idea of what that would be like,” Pretty said. “I would’ve probably never found that had I not went to Ivy Tech.”
After graduation, Pretty spent most of her time preparing for the NCLEX , the test used to determine if someone can be a RN. Pretty spent days reviewing information at study tables with former classmates, taking free tests through Kaplan provided by Ivy Tech and meetings with her advisors to go over material.
On June 19, Pretty passed her test and officially became an RN.
In the fall of 2019, Pretty will start work as an RN in the oncology department at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Kentucky.
Pretty said she is most excited to be a nurse because she will be able to help people when they are at their worst.
“I just like making people better and making them happy,” Pretty said.
Pretty spent the majority of her life wanting and working to be a nurse. With Ivy Tech, she was able to reach that dream and start helping people two years sooner.
“Ever since I was little, all I wanted to do was be a nurse, and Ivy Tech was the perfect way for me to get out of high school and jump right into everything,” Pretty said. “I am so glad I didn’t go into any other nursing program.”