We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Megan Blevins ’21
Always drawn to a career in health care, Megan Blevins ’21 started out working as an EMS part time. After six years of working in the role full time, she decided to take the next step in her career and pursue becoming a Paramedic. It wasn’t easy to make this decision. First a teen mom, and then a single mother of three children, before marrying again and having a fourth child, Megan shares that making plans for her own continuing education has been pushed back for a long time. Last year, she and her husband decided it was now or never, but then about a month after being accepted into our Paramedic program, their daughter stopped talking and was later diagnosed as nonverbal and autistic.
This challenge nearly derailed Megan’s plans to attend PA College, because she needed to provide extra care and earn extra income to provide therapies for her daughter. However, Megan and her family made the necessary adjustments so that she could succeed. Megan continues to work 48 hours per week while attending school full time. She shares: I just did what had to be done to complete school while also doing what we needed to do for her, and all of our family. I love learning and helping my patients to the best of my ability; this was my inspiration for returning to school.”
Megan is originally from Manchester, Maryland and now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania with her husband and four children.
Dawson High ’17 ’19, BSN, RN
Infusion Nurse, Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute
Dawson High earned his associate degree in nursing from PA College in 2017, followed by his bachelor’s degree in 2019. When he thinks back on his student days, Dawson’s favorite memories stem from his final two semesters in the ASN program. He shares: “Although these semesters seem to be the most time consuming, they are by far the most rewarding! We learned more about medications, diagnoses, treatments, and assessments that we then saw put into practice the next day during clinical time. We got to put our knowledge to use, work alongside nurses in clinical, and give our first IV medications. Strong friendships were formed during study hours and clinical preparation with your clinical group. The fellow students and instructors were a great encouragement.” Dawson worked part time night shifts at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital during this final semester, and despite the challenges of this demanding school and work schedule, he is grateful that the hospital’s tuition reimbursement program helped him to achieve his dream of becoming a nurse. He adds: “My family really supported me through nursing school by helping me study, with practicing assessments on them, and encouraging me.”
Today, Dawson works as an infusion nurse at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. He’s proud of the work he and his teammates do, and explains: “At first glance, someone would say we are the nurses that give chemotherapy, immunotherapy, IV fluids, blood, or other medications, but my team and I feel our jobs are much more than that. We are the nurses that walk with patients during treatments that last for 6 months or indefinitely. We are the nurses that bring a smile to a patient when they are not feeling well due to cancer side effects. And, we are the nurses that bring hope to a patient during one of the darkest times of their lives. I’m sure that this is why most of us want to or have become a nurse, and it is rewarding to us to help someone during a tough illness.” Highlights from Dawson’s work include all those occasions when a patient graduates from the Institute’s services and goes into remission, as well as when earlier this year his team received a Healthcare Hero award from a patient’s family. Dawson also helps to teach a Management of Aggressive Behavior class to hospital staff and holds an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certification. He hopes to also become a certified oncology nurse this year.
Dawson and his wife Michele live in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Their hobbies include playing card games and Parcheesi, gardening, croquet and spending time with family and friends. Dawson enjoys deer and turkey hunting and cabin trips scattered throughout the summer months. Their faith is very important to Dawson and Michele, who help lead worship at their church.
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!