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 ColumbusHigh 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 that he had 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 BaptistMemorialHospital in Columbus and teaches a nursing course, which Kyle took, at McKellarVocationalCenter 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.
“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.
For more information on the nursing programs at EMCC, visit eastms.edu.
The Practical Nursing students who graduated on Thursday were:
Amanda Brownlee – Columbus
Lee Calvert Jr. – Cedar Bluff
Melissa Carr – Starkville
Alice Chain – Columbus
Tekava Clay – Crawford
Patriece Davis – Columbus
Santanna Eacholes – West Point
Dana Eaton – Caledonia
Jessica Floyd – Starkville
Meagan Garrett – Columbus
Shannika Gibson – Starkville
Tiera Gillespie – Starkville
Erica Hamilton – Duck Hill
Latoya Hollingshed – Starkville
Chase Kyle – Columbus
Alexis McGee – Starkville
Chalisa Moore – Indianola
Kristy Pace – Crawford
Armandy Peaster – Crawford
Tyanna Perry – West Point
Rachel Pope – Kosciusko
Jennifer Price – Columbus
Lata Randle – Pheba
Kayla Riekhof – Starkville
Kernisha Shelton – Brooksville
Tarshayla Stephenson – Columbus
Joseph Stroud III – Eupora
Raven Thomas – Columbus
Tiffany Wicks – West Point
Courtney Winstead – Columbus
Special to The Real Story