York College helps student “become the nurse and the person that I am today”
Kelsey Bennett ’12 spent most of her younger life thinking she was going to go into a publishing or editing career. But when the economy was crashing during her junior year of high school, she decided she might want something a little more secure. Her mom was a nurse, so she thought she would give it a try. “The summer after I graduated high school, I took a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) class,” Kelsey says. “I really enjoyed it and it confirmed to me that nursing is what I wanted to do.”
Kelsey’s mom told her great things about York College’s Nursing program, and Kelsey liked what she saw during her visit. It was the only school she applied to and she graduated in 2012 with a BS in Nursing.
Her experience prepared her to take the National Council Licensure Examination and start her career. After a lot of diversity in her clinical experiences and supportive faculty, she landed a job at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in their medical intensive care unit (ICU). But she was ready for something more.
Back to the College
Kelsey ended up back at York College as an adjunct faculty member in the Nursing program. She wasn’t in the class teaching in a traditional sense; rather, she was helping students during clinicals in their final semester.
Students would come to Hershey Medical Center to learn about the ICU and the care Kelsey and other nurses and doctors were providing. Kelsey acted as a supervisor—making sure students were staying involved, getting to see different things, and quizzing them to ensure they understood what was going on with patients.
“It was kind of the best because it wasn’t real high-stakes,” Kelsey says. “Even if you don’t have any interest in working in ICU, at least you know what it’s like, so if you send a patient to the ICU or you get a patient from the ICU, or wherever you work, you have a concept of what it’s like and what kind of care they’re getting.”
Her passion for teaching sparked a desire to go back to York College as a student in the Nurse Educator program. However, while she still loved teaching, she realized she would need a PhD to teach at the collegiate level. While she was still early in the program, she switched over to the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners (AGNP) program.
Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP)
When she graduates at the end of August 2020, Kelsey will have an MS in Nursing and the opportunity to sit for a national NP certification exam. Her focus on gerontology and treating older adults means she can treat anyone over the age of 12. As a mid-level provider, she’ll focus more on writing orders, prescribing medication, and ordering labs and testing.
“I was ready to do something else,” Kelsey explains. “I love being an RN, but I just knew it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be for the rest of my career. As an NP, you have a lot more autonomy and decision-making, and I felt like I was ready for that.”
She chose York College, in part, because she had such a great experience getting her bachelor’s degree. Kelsey loved the smaller, more intimate feel at the College, and said it felt like coming home when she came back for her graduate degree.
Today, she appreciates the AGNP program because it’s mostly in-class vs. online. She says professors treat her as an equal, and they understand the balance between school and a busy personal life. As far as experiences, she’s had a different clinical every semester, from urology at Hershey Medical Center to working with the York Food Bank. After graduation, she hopes to use those experiences to find what she’s passionate about in a supportive environment, like the one she’s experienced at the College.
“It’s just been a really good place for me,” she says about York College. “It’s shaped a lot of who I am and helped me become the nurse and the person that I am today.”