Release date: July 12, 2013
MAYHEW – The Practical Nursing program at East Mississippi Community College is thoroughly difficult, but Chase Kyle of Columbus completed the program with one hand tied behind his back.
Well actually, one hand at his side.
Kyle, who lost the use of his left arm in a dirt bike accident 12 years ago, was one of 30 Practical Nursing students who graduated Thursday evening in a pinning ceremony at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus.
“Nursing school is a challenge regardless of my arm and everything,” said Kyle. “I’m extremely proud of myself.”
And so are his instructors.
“Chase is an amazing young man. He doesn’t let anything hold him back. He’s so inventive,” said Pat Clowers, director of Nursing and Allied Health at EMCC.
Kyle, who graduated from Columbus High School in 2009, wasn’t even sure if he was going to get a chance to complete the program. He had applied to nursing programs at multiple schools and it wasn’t until he was just a few credit hours shy of an associate’s degree from EMCC that he received word he’d been accepted to the PN program.
He knew what he was getting into since his mother, Linda Kyle, had been a nurse for more than 20 years at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus and teaches a nursing course, which Kyle took, at McKellar Vocational Center in Columbus. The pair worked together the summer before Kyle began classes perfecting techniques.
However, since Kyle had been forced to live with just one functioning arm since middle school, he was an experienced problem-solver.
For instance, latex gloves are a necessity for most medical professionals, but can be tricky to put on with two working hands. Kyle devised an apparatus that holds a latex glove open, allowing him to place his right hand snugly inside.
“I anticipated it would be fairly hard to do some things. I had to be extra creative to come up with ways of doing certain procedures. And there were times I got so mad I wanted to chuck stuff across the room,” said Kyle. “Most things I can do with just my right hand. And for some things I seek assistance. Nursing is all about teamwork anyway.”
Since his accident, Kyle has never been one to shy away from doing everything he wanted to do. He started small, learning how to operate a PlayStation controller with one hand. Then he taught himself to shoot and hunt with one arm.
And just as his family and friends in school helped him then, Kyle credits his PN instructors and classmates with supporting his efforts to chase his dream of becoming a nurse.
“We cautioned him that he would be held to the same standards as everyone else. Now, I’m happy that the PN program took a chance on Chase and any employer will be lucky to have him,” said Clowers.