Jaylen Pate, a Cloverport native and first-generation college student, majors in Nursing at WKU. An Army veteran, Pate discovered he’s color-blind while serving in Fort Bragg, North Carolina’s 82nd Airborne Division as a combat medic and realized something else too – his love for patient care.
After his military service, Pate wanted to be closer to home while completing his college degree. He returned to WKU to finish the degree he started before joining the Army.
“It seems surreal. I really felt like I had missed my chance when I took a break from school for the military and have worked extremely hard to get to where I am now,” Pate said. “I’m honestly just proud to have made it to this point and am thankful for all of my family and friends who have supported me.”
Pate said he especially enjoys applying what he’s learning at WKU.
“The best part of my experience at WKU has been slowly recognizing the transition of knowledge to application. It’s important to know the information but getting to the point that we understand it and can apply it in a clinical setting really reaffirms our purpose. I’ve been able to assist in a few codes that resulted in the resuscitation of patients, which aren’t pleasant experiences, but it’s incredible to watch the different parts of the healthcare team work together to save someone’s life.”
While the nursing program takes dedication and can be rigorous, Pate feels he stays connected to the community through his clinicals outside WKU, where he’s had the opportunity to work in several areas of the community and with different patient populations.
“I’ve had the chance to have a direct impact on the care that people of the Bowling Green area receive and hopefully have been able to make a tough experience a little easier or more comfortable for them.”
Pate shared these experiences include anything from playing with kids at Big Red School, to feeding a premature baby in the NICU, to helping with the care of critical patients at TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow. “I may have had limited free time outside of school, but a lot of my experiences during clinicals have been very memorable.”
To Pate, Hilltopper spirit means energy, and he’s happy to share that energy when working with others. He said,“The main thing I’ve always noticed at WKU is the energy that is put into everything. Granted, I’m tired probably 90% of the time, but when I’m working with people in the hospital, I try to keep a positive mood and a good sense of humor anytime I interact with them. Not only does it help to keep my mood where it should be, but hopefully it helps to lift the mood of the people I’m working with and taking care of.”
After graduation, Pate hopes to work in one of the local hospitals, gain a solid foundation of experience, and then start travel nursing. He would like to learn what it is like in hospitals outside of our immediate area, and he also said earning a master’s degree is not off the table.
To learn more about earning a degree in Nursing at WKU, visit www.wku.edu/nursing