Meet Kent State University College of Nursing alum Marcellus Byrd, BSN ‘23. He initially received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry in 2020 from a small, historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a year working for his uncle’s landscaping business, Byrd began to feel a familiar pull towards healthcare. Growing up, he had hung on the stories his mother shared about her nursing shifts. Honing that fascination with the medical field, Byrd applied for a position at the Cleveland Clinic, which afforded him the opportunity to observe a multitude of healthcare careers he could potentially pursue.  

“I had been contemplating both the roles of­ physician assistant or nursing,” said Byrd. “I enjoyed having patient interactions and noticed how the nurses spent more time with their patients than some of the other healthcare professionals. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a nurse one day, too.” 

Byrd began taking the prerequisite courses for Kent State’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in January 2022. He had specifically sought out an ABSN program knowing it would allow him to complete his degree faster, while only having to focus on the nursing courses.

“Kent State’s ABSN program was more desirable than other programs I had considered because I could complete it in 15 months, much quicker than most schools,” said Byrd. “Many of the nurses on my floor raved about Kent State’s nursing program, too. When I spoke with an advisor, they were also very helpful in decerning which program would suit my needs best, which also solidified my decision.”

Pharmacology was among Byrd’s favorite courses during his ABSN program. He enjoyed learning about different medications and seeing how they helped patients. The ABSN program provided opportunities for Byrd to learn about and work in many different areas of nursing, which helped him decipher which specialties he liked more than others. He was also grateful for the friendships and connections he built with his peers, explaining how they joined together to create ‘the best study group there ever was’. Byrd credits that group with helping him succeed in the program.

Byrd continued to work while he was a student. Sharing it was challenging at times, he found shifting his work availability to once a week helped create the balance he sought. Furthermore, he discovered working night shifts fit into his busy schedule best and was thankful his managers allowed him to pick up extra shifts during school breaks.

“I am a natural night owl. I went to class, then straight home to take a nap before heading to work,” said Byrd. “Night shift was more peaceful. Remaining in that peaceful mindset after work helped me to concentrate and focus better on my assignments for class.”

When asked what advice he would share with others considering a career change to nursing, Byrd wishes to encourage them to do their research about prerequisites, application dates and program details, along with reaching out to an academic program advisor for additional support.

“Going back to school will require short-term sacrifices in other areas of your life. This program requires much of your time for class, clinical rotations and dedicated hours for studying,” said Byrd. “But I can honestly tell you it is worth it. Thank you, Kent State University College of Nursing, for believing in me.”   Looking towards the future, Byrd hopes to acquire a position on a step-down unit for a few years before moving into either an intensive care or emergency department role. He intends to apply for graduate school to become a nurse practitioner or a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

To learn more about Kent State University College of Nursing’s Accelerated Second Degree BSN (ABSN) program, please register for one of our information events.

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