Army Veteran Pivots to be Kettering College Graduate

Michael Collins, Kettering College Nursing student, admits, “I never expected to be a nurse,” but he is graduating this summer, with what he describes as his dream job waiting for him at Kettering Health.

Michael served in the U.S. Army and knew he wanted to use the funds from his GI Bill to enroll in college after his military service. His dad started a nursing career when Michael was in high school, and Michael saw what a rewarding career it proved to be for his dad. He says, “I’ve seen it work for him, so I figured I’d try it for myself.”

He was enrolled in a community college when he heard about Kettering College from someone who graduated from here and said they had an excellent experience. Born and raised in Dayton, Michael was surprised to find he had never heard of it but was happy he found out about Kettering College, “Dayton’s best-kept secret.”

His GI Bill would cover the cost of an associate or bachelor’s degree in Nursing, so the decision was easy for Michael to transfer to Kettering College to earn his bachelor’s degree. He settled in quickly and enjoyed the small atmosphere.

“My time here has been great. I love how small the campus is and how everybody knows everybody and you form bonds,” he says. He adds, “Professors knew me by name, and this encouraged me to do well.”

In addition to the tight-knit atmosphere, he says Kettering College’s relationship with Kettering Health made getting a job as a nursing assistant during his time here extremely easy, and this opened the door to start getting experience and growing his professional network.

As Michael juggled attending college with raising a family and working, he admits it wasn’t always easy. He had to stay focused on the prize of graduation and a career he knew he would love. As he faced obstacles, he says he was surrounded by love and support from his peers, faculty, and staff. A nice touch, he says, he wouldn’t have received on a big campus where people wouldn’t have known him personally.

He wasn’t intentionally looking for a faith-based college but says he appreciated it. “I love the Christian atmosphere and praying before tests, which is something we obviously weren’t allowed to do at a community college. I wasn’t even looking for that and had no idea what Seventh-day Adventists even meant, but I came to look forward to prayer before a test. The entire atmosphere was very inviting.”

As graduation day began to approach, Michael wanted to apply for a nursing position on the cardiac ICU floor at Kettering Health. With encouragement from Ben Hotelling, dean of students at Kettering College, Michael applied for the job. He says, “I received a call within 30 minutes and got the job after interviewing.” On a small campus where even the dean of students knows your name, Michael began to believe he could set his sights high and aim for them, and now he has a career waiting for him as he walks across the stage to receive his diploma.

Michael says he knows he’s going to love his career in nursing because being a nursing assistant has already been his favorite job so far in his life. He says one of the things he appreciates about nursing is the field offers so many options for jobs that vary in pace, demographic, and environment.

He says, “I enjoy helping people, and I want to give back to the community. I’m excited to apply my knowledge to a field that helps people. It’s going to be rewarding.” In addition to doing meaningful work, he admits he loves that being a nurse means “having a balance of being on your feet mixed in with times at a desk.” Michael says his days fly by as a nursing assistant, and he’s looking forward to a career as a nurse with this same benefit.

Simply by being a man, Michael is a minority among nurses. Michael says, “To men who have written off nursing as a career for women only, I say ‘It’s 2024, and you can do what you want to do.’ I wouldn’t want to pass up such a great career because people assume it’s only for women. Having gender diversity on the floors is a great asset.”

From serving our country to wondering what would be next, we’re proud Michael Collins chose Kettering College to pivot his career. The devotion, focus, and discipline he brought to the Army will be the same skills he’ll use to answer the call as a nurse at Kettering Health.


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