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Evan Greenwell, senior in nursing, works on a mannequin patient in McPherson Hall on Wednesday, May 1. Greenwell will graduate in May as an RN and will then join the staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Overland Park. Gracelyn Haile

Childhood experience influences graduate’s career

Evan Greenwell will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing this spring 2019 semester, his plan following was influenced by a childhood experience of his. In the seventh grade Greenwell caught fire, leading to a week spent in the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. This experience led to Greenwell attending Pittsburg State for nursing with a hope of one day working in a burn unit. 

“… It wasn’t until I think high school, really, when you have to start think about what do I want to do for a career that I just really looked on the whole experience and thought I wanted to do that for other kids, to have the opportunity to get to inspire someone, to want to give back to the same care that they received,” Greenwell said. 

Greenwell’s accident happened at the beginning of summer his seventh-grade year while lighting a brush pile. It caught fire after striking the match. He was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital then rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital via ambulance; Greenwell said the pain hit him halfway to Lawrence. Greenwell then stayed in Children’s Mercy Hospital for one week; he said the accident affected the entire summer. 

From his experience at Children’s Mercy Hospital, this directly impacted his idea of the nursing field and what he hopes that he can bring to the profession as well. One thing Greenwell hopes to bring to the job is the ability to relate to burn patients within a burn unit. 

“Healthcare professionals, one thing they lack—a common thing, I guess—would be just some of the viewpoints that a patient has in a particular situation. We can try to relate to them and their needs, but it’s impossible to really know, and I think that my experience as a pediatric patient in a burn unit will really help influence my quality of care that I can provide to my patients by knowing not just from the provider’s side but from the patient side, the little things that you might not always think about all the time, like just trying to be entertained for the week of what the patient’s family might want because especially at Children’s Mercy they treat the patient’s family as much as the patient,” he said. 

Following graduation, Greenwell will continue his work within the nursing field at Children’s Mercy Hospital, though the job offer came as a thankful surprise. 

“It feels amazing,” he said. I mean, I was not expecting to get the job right out of college at all, or, you know, I’d be lucky to work there periodThey’re pretty selective about the nurses they choose and they should be, you’re taking care of children. My parents cried on the phone when I told them, they couldn’t believe it either.” 

For Greenwell, working at Children’s Mercy Hospital is a dream come true, and one he hopes to hold for a long time. 

“During the interview, I remember the lady at Children’s asked me like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ and usually you think of a generic safe answer… I just kind of laughed and was like, ‘Here,” he said. Genuinely I couldn’t think of anywhere else, a more honest answer than that. I mean, there is no more honest answer than that, it just feels really relieving and like everything is finally coming together.” 

Even before attending Pitt State for classes, Greenwell visited for tailgates and specific university days like Family Day, which all influenced his choice to attend PSU. When Greenwell came for his campus tour and tour of the nursing program, he said “it just felt right.” 

“Overall, it’s been awesome,” he said. “I’ve been coming here since high school with good family friends for tailgating… I toured other schools, but they never really stood a chance, so Pitt’s always felt like home.” 

Greenwell attributes where he has gotten within his career to Pitt State and his professors, especially those within the nursing program. 

“The professors here are amazing… especially in the nursing program they really care about you,” he said. They don’t just see you as a number or a student, they will meet with you one-on-one to meet with you to not let you fail. Our retention is the highest in the area among nursing schools, we started with 80 and we’re graduating with 78. … It’s wild, on the first day of class they said you’ll meet a lot of your best friends and like future bridesmaids or groomsmen, they’ve seen it happen, or even like your husband or wife here, and looking back on it now they were right. You spend so much time with these people, you know… you really do grow to become a family.” 

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