Student Spotlight – Meet Michael York
He chose to follow his passion and become a nurse as his second career. Before he began his journey at Carrington College, Micahel had a career in business management. He loved helping others and knew he wanted to be in the medical field.
Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m almost 35 years old, my birthday is in December. As you know, this is my second career. I originally majored in nutritional science and received my Bachelor’s degree from Reno College University. For eight years, I had a well-paying job, but I wasn’t happy. At the end of the workday, I was miserable. I knew I had to make a change and it needed to be something in the medical field.
It started when I was accepted into the Registered Nursing program at Carrington College. It is amazing that in two weeks I will be a registered nurse!
Why did you choose nursing?
I’ve always had a curiosity about nursing and medical sciences. In high school, I weighed 300 pounds and was tired of being overweight. I went into nutritional science to better myself, and I ended up losing 160 pounds over the course of two years.
What I did in nutrition was gratifying as I helped people create their own plans of better health. Though I enjoyed that work, I realized nutrition is only one component of being able to help a person, and I wanted to delve deeper into patient care.
What does it take to be successful in this program?
It takes a lot of dedication, nursing is a difficult major. Students will know very soon if it’s the right fit for them. I knew relatively quickly that I enjoyed it. I advise students to soak up all the knowledge like a sponge.
Although I am in the top of my class, it hasn’t been easy. If you want to do well, you need good time management and to utilize every opportunity to gain knowledge. There’s a lot to learn in a short amount of time, so students pursuing this major will have to make sacrifices if they want to do well. It’s a time commitment and adjustment. Here I am at the end, still loving every second of it and knowing that all the sacrifices were worth it.
Are you involved in anything else within Carrington?
I’m active in the school and community. Currently, I serve as the student council president. My former student council positions were vice president and secretary. It’s exciting to graduate as the president because I’ve been working hard to build a bridge between faculty and students. It’s important to have the students involved in campus events and build a rapport within the community, hospitals and organizations that hire.
What opportunities are available for students who want to get involved?
Many of the students and faculty participate in Carrington Cares throughout the year to give back to the community. We participate in the Liquid Gold Race 5K that takes place in early August, to benefit breast-feeding awareness. Every October, we also have a group that runs in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Our campus also hosts monthly food drives for Northern Nevada Food Bank. Twice a year, the United Blood Services sends their mobile blood unit so students, faculty and staff can donate blood.
We are trying to solidify the importance of a healthy community. We’re nursing students, so if we’re not making a point to get the community healthy then who is? We want to share and raise awareness of the resources available for people to maintain their health.
You mention you have additional involvement in the community, what else do you do?
I volunteer at Northern Nevada Hopes, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that’s a fully functional clinic for the underserved population. Right now, they’re building a new facility that will consist of a collaborative team including primary care physicians, medical assistants and others who can treat patients on the spot. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is low income and cannot get medical coverage anywhere else. It’s also great because the facility will serve as a one-stop-shop for all patient medical needs.
I volunteer with the HIV Hepatitis C team. We offer free testing for the community. We just implemented the first clean needle exchange program, called Change Point. Through a partnership with the Reno Police Department, we provide the tools to properly dispose of dirty needles and people can have access to clean needles at no charge, no questions asked.
Aside from school and your community involvement, how else do you spend your time?
It’s important for me to stay healthy, so going to the gym is key. My friends and family are important too. Finding the balance to keep up with my studies and still enjoy my free time is important. I also have an 11-month-old puppy that I dedicate a lot of my time to. We often go up to the lake and hike. You have to take advantage of a state that has 320-plus days of sunshine!
Do you like to travel?
I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world. A lot of it was due to the sacrifices my mom made while growing up. I was privileged enough to go to New York and Washington DC in sixth and seventh grade. Later in school, I had the opportunity to go to Europe with my French club. I’ve always had a love for traveling. After graduation, I will be taking a trip up to Canada for 10 days. Following that trip, I will be heading to Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong for three weeks. I’m a bit of an adventurer.
Do you have anything on your bucket list?
I definitely want to visit South America and Antarctica so I can say I have been to all seven continents. My list also contains taking a trip to New Zealand and immersing myself into the Spanish culture, so I would love to explore South America when I have a decent amount of free time. My bucket list also included going great white shark diving in South Africa which I did a couple of year ago. My list is getting shorter but I’m always looking to add things to it.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I just finished rotations for the last of my clinics in the Trauma ICU at Renown Regional Medical Center Hospital and they offered me a permanent place on the team after I graduate. I’m really looking forward to that. I have a big interest in emergency medicine, but I’m also looking into getting a Bachelor’s Degree and then a Master’s degree after I have more experience under my belt in the ICU.
Who in your life helped you the most as you were going through school?
I’m fortunate to have a consistent network of supportive friends and family. My mom was a single mom, so she helped me out a lot. My grandparents have also been supportive. Without my grandparents and mom, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Secondarily would be my friends who are like my family. The support of the rest of my family has helped as well. I feel very blessed to have them there for me in helping me pave a path for myself.
Do you have any last words on your experience in going to Carrington?
As a general observation, the time flies by in a blink of an eye. It seems like I just started and now in a couple of weeks I’ll be graduating and starting this new chapter. I’m living proof that you can start something new later on in life. Follow your heart, and don’t ever think it’s too late. It was scary being a homeowner and leaving a well-paid job to pursue something new, but I’m very grateful that I pursued nursing. Every time I come home from my classes or the hospital, I know I made the right decision in my nursing journey.
For more information about Carrington College’s Reno campus, please click here.