Indirect path to nursing leads to rewarding career

twenty-something male nurse standing at computer

Mohawk College recognizes the dedication of our alumni who work in the health care industry during these challenging times.

Paul Sowinski '18 wanted a career he could feel good about. The Practical Nursing graduate, who now works as a registered practical nurse at Thrive Group, got just that with his training from Mohawk College’s interactive program.

While studying in another program at the university level, Paul heard from some friends about Mohawk’s Practical Nursing offering and his interest was sparked. He knew nursing was a career path that would marry his social skills with his desire to help people. Once he learned more about the program, Paul immediately saw the benefits of its condensed format, hands-on approach and affiliations with a wide range of employment partners.

“The nursing program at Mohawk seemed like a great opportunity because the school allowed students to complete their diplomas in one-and-a-half years compared to the two-year timeframe offered at other colleges,” says Paul. “Secondly, I felt that I could thrive in the interactive hands-on learning style provided at Mohawk.”

Not only are Mohawk’s classes and labs designed to be practical but through the Practical Nursing program, students also complete three clinical placements and volunteer opportunities. These immersive experiences showed Paul what working in a real-world medical setting was like — and what today’s employers are looking for. Because he got to work in a complex care unit, a medical-surgical unit and a surgical oncology unit, the placements also exposed Paul to various areas of the field.

“I learned a lot,” he says of the clinical placements. “Working in an actual work environment as a student, it kind of showed me … the kind of person you gotta be to succeed in a work environment. I also had the opportunity to volunteer as an activity coordinator for disabled individuals in the community.”

The volunteer opportunity actually set Paul on the path to his current position at Thrive Group, which is responsible for the operation of four-member organizations that offer long-term care, independent living support solutions, and attendant services to seniors and individuals with a physical disability. With his goal in mind, Paul finished the program and took his practical nursing licensing exam. Within a few short months of filling out applications, the job offers started coming in.

“The job search process was fairly straightforward, as the clinical placements I was given set me up for success,” Paul says. “The three placements allowed me to gain experience to fill out my resume, obtain job references, build relationships with employers and explore opportunities which suited me best.”

Paul’s experience with taking advantage of opportunities he heard about through friends, meanwhile, came in handy again when a friend suggested Thrive Group might be a good fit for him. A year later, Paul says he’s loved every moment of his nursing career at Thrive.

“I enjoy how rewarding the profession is,” Paul says. “I love that I am able to make a positive impact on many people’s lives. Each day brings in new challenges and experiences, which have allowed me to grow as a nurse and make a difference in the community.”