Nursing major Nolan Wright transfers to Stritch to pursue dream career
After graduating from high school in 2016, Nolan Wright headed to UW-La Crosse to pursue a degree in business and play on the Eagles’ basketball team. He completed two seasons, during which time he switched his major to biology. He knew he wanted to do something in health but wasn’t certain what career path he ultimately would choose.
After his junior year in La Crosse he returned to Milwaukee for the summer and participated in the Clinical & Translational Science Institute 500 Stars Summer Internship program at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. It was during this hands-on experience when he had the opportunity to work with faculty researchers and research teams conducting real-life studies and Nolan “fell in love with nursing.” He shadowed a nurse practitioner for eight weeks doing rounds, visiting patients, and even had the opportunity to be in the operating room during a surgery. Nolan’s research (shown below) focused on the transition from acute to chronic pain, and he worked with staff from Froedtert’s Trauma Quality of Life Clinic, which aims to improve patient health after discharge from the hospital.
Since UW-La Crosse did not offer a nursing program, Nolan began searching for a new college or university to call home. He looked into Viterbo, Edgewood and Stritch, but made the decision to transfer to Stritch and pursue a nursing degree.
“The Stritch transfer counselors helped with the process and made sure I could get right into nursing courses when I transferred,” said Nolan. “I also was fortunate to receive a scholarship available exclusively to transfer students.”
Upon arriving at Stritch, he enrolled in courses in the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences and began his first clinical in a chronic care environment at Lasata Senior Living Campus under the direction of assistant professor Jennifer Niggemeier.
“I have enjoyed my Stritch experience very much,” said the Milwaukee native. “The professors want you to do well and make time for you. The faith-based aspect of the education really adds to the character of being a nurse.”
Nolan has this advice for students who transfer to Stritch, “When you change schools, you leave the way of life you are accustomed to and almost have to ‘start over’ in your new environment. This could be intimidating but already having experienced the college way of life eases the transition. The most important thing for transfer students is to reach out to an academic advisor or transfer coordinator at the new prospective school. Reaching out to ensure credits transfer is extremely important so that the student does not have to repeat previously taken courses; contacting someone allows the new transfer student to have a friendly face that they can work with throughout their transition.”
To help his acclimation to a new environment, Nolan sought an on-campus job to get familiar with the Stritch campus and students. He is working in the Wisconsin Campus Compact office and handles a variety of communications projects.
In addition to his on-campus work, he served as an assistant coach for the Marquette University High School freshmen basketball team. Nolan had a stellar prep career at MUHS, earning All-Greater Metro Conference Second Team honors following his senior season, then went on to play collegiately for the Eagles at UW-La Crosse.
He intends to apply for a summer Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) position at Froedtert Health as a next step to his career goal as a nurse.
For students who are getting ready to begin their college careers, Nolan shares, “My greatest piece of advice for a smooth transition is to know what you want to do, and get involved right away to make sure that is what you want to do. I changed my major twice, so getting involved in various clubs related to one's desired major will help students immerse themselves in their respective fields and save them time and money in the long run. Also, besides academics, I would advise them to get socially involved and not be scared to step out of their comfort zone. College is the greatest time of your life, and it is important to get out and have fun, experience new things and make new lifelong friends.”