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Student Chooses Nursing as a Means to Change Lives

Like many people, Alan Keller’s path in life hasn’t always been clear. But this year, as a New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) scholarship recipient at MNU, Keller is pursuing what he loves, and doing it with one aim in mind.

“By pursuing a career in nursing, I hope to have the opportunity to work in environments where caring relationships are elevated beyond any other end,” Keller says.

Keller is one of five MNU accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students this year to receive the $10,000 New Career in Nursing (NCIN) scholarship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) at MNU. The NCIN scholarship addresses the nationwide nursing shortage and promotes diversity within the field by funding BSN candidates with non-nursing degrees and backgrounds. MNU is one of about 50 universities nationwide to receive this scholarship funding.

Keller didn’t always plan on nursing. As an undergraduate, Keller earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and communications, with the goal of eventually becoming a professor. In graduate school he realized that though he still felt called to a life of service to others, he no longer wanted to become a teacher.

In 2009, in the midst of struggling with what steps to take next, Keller had the opportunity to spend two months in Kenya doing mission work with a tribe called the Pokot people. Through that experience, Keller’s eyes were opened to a world of need.

“I got to see that there’s a huge need for medical assistance in the areas I was in,” he said. “It was interesting seeing that and having a part in helping out.”

Keller’s experience in Africa gave him a passion for medical ministry. Upon returning to the US, he began volunteering at Hope Family Care Center (HFCC), a health clinic in Kansas City serving impoverished populations. Soon Keller began working at the clinic full-time. It was through that experience, Keller said, he unexpectedly discovered his true passion – nursing.

The next step was to find a school where he could work toward his goal. There were several factors that contributed to his decision to attend MNU.

“The main reason, probably, is that [MNU’s] accelerated nursing program is the quickest.” said Keller. “And I didn’t have to search very far to hear really good things from people who went there.”

Since choosing MNU, Keller has been living out his dual love for scholarship and service as a RWJF scholar. He is currently working to complete the 20-24 credit hours per semester required and has no plans to slow down. Once he completes his BSN, Keller hopes to continue his schooling and become a nurse practitioner, which will enable him to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medications for patients.

In the longer term, Keller thinks a BSN will open a world of life-changing experiences for him.

“Nursing has so many different opportunities that you can pursue,” Keller says. “If you want to go abroad, it’s really not too difficult to find opportunities to use nursing abroad. Or you can use it right where you are. You can help out in so many different ways.”

One of the opportunities he plans to pursue includes returning to the roots that first sparked his passion for medicine – a nursing ministry abroad. Whether he travels to Kenya or elsewhere, Keller said he also plans to use his skills to teach the people he serves.

“I want to go beyond treating their illnesses and wounds,” says Keller. “I would like to leave them with some medical knowledge they can adapt and incorporate into their culture, thus empowering them to care for one another more fully.”

Keller also plans to continue helping the local community by maintaining his ties with Hope Family Care Center.

Wherever his journey may take him, Keller sees completing his degree at MNU as his mission – a way to live out his calling, and enable other people to live out theirs.

“In working with and serving others, I believe that people are given the opportunity to see life with a new perspective,” Keller said. “The application of a nursing degree can go beyond immediate physical care – it can be a platform from which to build relationships and effect change in a community.”

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Winter 2019

Being Called. Read about the many ways one can be called in this Winter 2019 issue of Accent.

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