Student Spotlight: Bill Aitken
Bill Aitken first became interested in the health care field as a teenager while volunteering at a hospital.
He then worked in numerous non-degree health care positions over the years, including emergency medical technician, orderly, patient care assistant, patient administrative assistant, phlebotomist and patient advocate. Aitken’s first formal training in health care came through the U.S. Army’s Academy of Health Sciences, where he became a medical specialist.
“I voluntarily enlisted in high school because I wanted to serve my country just as every generation in my family had before me,” he said. “My service also gave me valuable experience that will be with me for the rest of my life. As a platoon sergeant, I learned that health care leadership requires competence through a continuous quest for knowledge, respectful collaboration and performance improvement. I always knew that I would need to return to school to bring my career to the next level as a leader.”
Twenty years later, he enrolled at College of DuPage to pursue his Nursing degree.
“The decision to attend COD was an easy one: multiple available class times made it easier to juggle life’s responsibilities, the short commute, the helpful advisors and the fact that all of my old college credits were accepted and transferred,” he said. “One class led to another, which eventually led to being accepted into the Nursing program.”
Also helping Aitken were several scholarships from the College of DuPage Foundation, including the College of DuPage Foundation’s Returning Adult Scholarship, the Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown Scholarship, the Veteran’s Textbook Scholarship and the Nursing Alumni Scholarship.
“Without the generosity of donors and these scholarships, I would not be in this position today. I look forward to giving back as a future donor and as a community nursing leader.”
He is also grateful to the support of his wife and two young daughters.
“I know that obtaining this degree is leading to a better life for my family. I am grateful for their patience and support while I strove to achieve academic excellence,” he said.
After earning his associate’s degree, Aitken passed the NCLEX exam and became licensed in Illinois as a Registered Nurse. He first worked at Loyola University Medical Center on a general surgery/trauma nursing unit and now is at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital as an emergency room nurse.
“My nursing education continues every day and I will work toward a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in the near future,” he said. “I am grateful to everyone who encouraged and mentored my success at College of DuPage. The Nursing program surrounded me with students and faculty who had similar passions and a commitment to helping others as I did.
“I would recommend to anyone who is considering the pursuit of a degree at College of DuPage to simply take the first step: talk to an advisor. You can start off slow by taking just one class to develop good study habits and get your brain in shape. One success will lead to another as you move toward an amazing career with an education from COD as the foundation. ”
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