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June 24, 2018

Recent nursing graduate reaps benefits of pushing hard, staying focused

Nursing school is challenging. That’s a given. But add personal life situations to the mix and the challenge becomes even tougher.

Cody Davidson, a single parent of five children who works full time on night shifts at a local hospital, persevered through two years of nursing school because he knew his tomorrow starts today at JCCC. With a grade point average of 3.5 and higher, he received the Dean’s Award as part of 2018 JCCC Nursing Program graduating class. At the end of July, he becomes a registered nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Perseverance. Dedication. Commitment.

Davidson’s story at JCCC began when he arrived on campus in 2004 after graduating from Blue Valley West High School. He didn’t have definite career plans, and after two semesters of general education classes he stepped away to get a job. He eventually decided to focus on a healthcare career and returned to JCCC as a part-time student. He received a CNA certificate and applied for the selective admissions JCCC Nursing Program in 2011 but was not selected.

His story could end there, but it doesn’t.

Because of Davidson’s drive to become a nurse, he put his CNA certificate to work in 2011 with a job in the burn unit at Children’s Mercy. At the same time, he continued to take additional nursing prerequisite classes at JCCC.

With some real-world experience under his belt, Davidson again applied to the JCCC Nursing Program in 2016 and was accepted. He shares custody of his children – ages 2 to 9 – with his ex-wife, so he knew dedication to his family, work and school would push him hard. He was up for the challenge.

The JCCC Nursing Program accepts just 64 students a year, and students in each incoming class form strong relationships. One of the students Davidson met during orientation and who was in his early cohort group for clinical rotation was Britani Wallace.

Davidson and Wallace found that nursing was not their only connection. The chemistry between the two grew, and they began dating. He proposed on her birthday in 2017, and the couple married less than a month before they graduated in 2018.

“We didn’t feel like we had enough going on, so we decided to throw planning a wedding in the mix,” Davidson joked. “We juggled a lot, but we balanced everything and made it work. Now with our nursing degrees, our family is better prepared for our future together.”

Professors notice something special

JCCC Professor John McNally taught Davidson in his first nursing class and in his last class.

“Cody, working in a hospital setting while in nursing school, was a ‘throwback’ to what nursing students typically did years ago,” McNally explained. “Many nursing students today come into the program with little hands-on experience in healthcare. Plus, many do not work full-time while in nursing school because of the anticipated rigor of the coursework. Cody did all that and then some.”

McNally worked closely with Davidson as part of an eight-student clinical group the last semester. Less than 10 percent of nurses are male, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so Davidson already stood out from the crowd. But he really shined when it came to working closely with hospital staff – evidence that his previous experience served him well.

Ed Ronnebaum was another of Davidson’s JCCC professors, and he observed some of those same traits.

“During his clinical rotation, Cody always provided individualized care to his patients as well as assisted nurses and other JCCC students with their patients,” Ronnebaum said. “Patients’ families noticed this, too. Cody will be a valuable asset to his nursing unit as a registered nurse because of his ‘team effort’ approach and the positive attributes he brings delivering patient care.”

Appreciation. Gratitude. Admiration.

During nursing school, Davidson experienced something else that was special – hearing a lecture from Dr. David Zamierowski, inventor of several healthcare products. Among the patents Zamierowski holds is one for the V.A.C. external wound dressing, often referred to as the wound vac.

“I had some exposure to that product at Children’s Mercy in the burn unit prior to it coming up in discussions when he spoke to our class,” Davidson said. “When I found out that he was the inventor, I thought that was really awesome. I didn’t think it was a local person who invented that product, and that I would be introduced to him at JCCC.”

Besides exposure to the product, Davidson had another tie to the patent holder. He received the two-year Zamierowski Family Scholarship, funded by Dr. Zamierowski and his wife, Mary.

“Receiving this scholarship was a big boost in helping me provide housing and everything else for my family,” Davidson said. “It was amazing to have this connection to the person who invented a product that I was exposed to for so long. I’m grateful for the support the Zamierowski family provides me and other nursing students.”

Join Davidson and other recent JCCC Nursing Program graduates by considering a rewarding career as a registered nurse. To join the Zamierowski family in supporting nursing student, visit the JCCC Foundation website. For more information about the JCCC program, contact Karen LaMartina via email or at 913-469-8500, ext. 3157.