By Mary Mogan Edwards
The Columbus Dispatch

Not everybody who would make a good nurse has figured that out by age 18, or even 22. Sometimes people spend years in other careers, or searching for careers, before the idea dawns.

Making a switch to nursing isn't easy or simple. But for people who already have a bachelor's degree and plenty of determination, a program at the Mount Carmel College of Nursing can at least make it shorter. The Second Degree Accelerated Program, or S-DAP, packs the nursing part of a bachelor's of science in nursing degree into 13 months.

It's perfect for people like Lyndi Buckley, 39, who runs a Christian mission church in Tanzania with her husband and three children. She is a doula and Lamaze coach and spent years helping women in poor neighborhoods of Dar es Salaam with childbirth and other health challenges before deciding to seek a nursing degree.

But she doesn't want to spend years away from her work and adopted homeland to complete her studies. Neither does 27-year-old Wesley Black, who has put in years on and off tour with an indie band, Fever Fever, while moonlighting as a home health aide.

He lives with his wife on a rural property near Washington Court House. When not on the road, he would handle chores and care for animals. His "aha" moment for nursing was unconventional: "I was butchering a chicken," he said. "I'm pulling out the entrails and the fat and stuff and I'm thinking, 'This is kind of awesome — the esophagus is like a bendy straw!' "

Jessica Strimbu, 35, has degrees in psychology and fashion design and runs an online business, Tin Roof Vintage Clothing. But she decided she wanted something else.

"As I've gotten older, my priorities have changed," she said. "I wanted to do something that benefits society."

Tanika Cherry-Montgomery, coordinator for the S-DAP program, said experiences like theirs make her students especially good nursing candidates. "They're mature — they're adaptable and very flexible," she said.

They're also extremely driven, she said. They have to be, to complete the grueling months of 60-to-70-hour weeks required to get so much done so fast. "This is an exact replica of our (traditional) undergraduate program," she said, meaning 20 courses and 800 clinical hours. "We haven't left anything out."

Students have to complete the prerequisite science courses, via the college of their choice, before they can begin.

The nation's long-running shortage of nurses continues, and graduates are almost assured good jobs; most have them lined up before they graduate. But that doesn't mean S-DAP students are more interested in a steady paycheck than in being a nurse, Cherry-Montgomery said. If they were, they would never make it.

"This will question your motives," she said of the program's rigors. "It will make you reflect on, 'Why in the world am I doing this?' " She tries to make the challenges clear to applicants. Some have to save for the $34,000 tuition.

"I tell them, 'You have to plan. You have to plan financially, because you can't work (during the program); you have to have the prerequisites done.' "

For those who can do it, she said, it's worth it.

"Nursing is the best of both worlds. You can care for people, you can make a difference, and you can have a good income."

Read the original story here.

Why Choose Us


scholarship money awarded from the Mount Carmel Foundation in 2023


years of educating nurses


2023 NCLEX-RN pass rate