Keeping Up with the Coopers and Joneses
Posted on October 26, 2023 by College of Nursing
Life in the Cooper household looks a bit different than it used to. Kadie Jones, a first semester nursing student, entered the Traditional BSN Pathway at the University of South Alabama in August with her husband Tyler Jones and her dad Craig Cooper by her side.
Kadie and Tyler got married on Aug. 12 and quickly transitioned from their pre-nursing lives into the traditional bachelor’s in nursing program less than two weeks later. They were not sure what to expect but having each other and Kadie’s dad in the program has made things easier.
Craig has spent much of his life working in the engineering field, but his interest in nursing has grown over the years, especially after his oldest daughter Kailan completed South’s bachelor’s program. She is now studying to become a nurse practitioner.
“Seeing her do it and listening to her talk about it was the biggest part of it. It’s very nice that I could line up with Kadie and Tyler. As an old person going through school with a bunch of young people, it’s nice to have a comfort zone that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Craig said.
Kadie always knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare but initially wasn’t sure which direction she wanted to take. Conversations with her sister helped her choose nursing.
“I’ve always liked taking care of people. I’ve babysat since I was 14, and I have a real heart for babies and kids. I know I want to take care of kids, and my sister makes nursing sound amazing,” Kadie said.
Nursing was an easy choice for Tyler because his mom, brother, sister and sister-in-law are all nurses.
“You can do it anywhere, and there’s always opportunity. I need flexibility and want to see something new every single day,” Tyler said.
One might think evenings at home are full of study sessions around the kitchen table, but in reality, it’s quite different.
“They study in the same room. I can’t do that. I go to our study room, shut the door and turn on the sound machine,” Kadie said.
“It does come in handy to have us all around when we need to do check offs. To have three people in the same house, you can do it at any time of the day,” Tyler said.
When they have time for a break, much of their time is spent together as a family. They enjoy relaxing with everyone and often end up watching sports or having game nights.
“If I’m not studying, then I’m finally getting to catch up on my siblings’ lives. I take as much time as I can to decompress and don’t try to fill up my schedule with other things,” Kadie said.
Going through the nursing program together, often side by side at the front of the classroom, has certainly been unique for all three students. It has sometimes been harder than expected, and the long classes and the development of technology have been an added adjustment for Craig. However, it has been a smooth one with the help of his daughter and son-in-law, who both consider him a sponge of information.
“I already knew Mr. Craig was smart, but he is insanely smart. He can look at the screen and soak it all in,” Tyler said.
“If I wasn’t coming in beside them, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Craig said.
“It helps us work harder going through it with people that we’re close to,” Kadie said.
Being a part of the college’s largest cohort to ever enter the Traditional BSN Pathway may seem daunting to some, but it’s been a pleasant experience for Kadie, Tyler and Craig. Plus, learning from healthcare professionals at the Gulf Coast region’s only academic health system is an added bonus.
“Everyone’s been genuinely nice. For them to know our names out of almost 200 people means a lot,” Craig said.
“I like the connections to all the hospitals, especially Children’s and Women’s. That’s somewhere I would like to work in the future,” Kadie said.
When graduation day comes, there is no doubt that Kadie, Tyler, Craig and their whole family will be closer than ever, but their specialties may differ. Kadie hopes to work in pediatric care, and Tyler pictures himself working “in the heat of things” in the intensive care unit or emergency room. Craig on the other hand says he’s not so sure where he wants to end up but that his passion will lead him to the right place.
“We’ll see. If there’s no passion with the money then you’re not going to enjoy it,” Craig said.
The University of South Alabama’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is a four-year program designed for students with a high school diploma. Traditionally, the first two years are spent in meeting general university requirements with courses in science, math, arts and humanities, while the last two years are focused on the professional preparation in nursing. The BSN program provides the skills necessary for a rewarding career as a registered nurse. To learn more about the Traditional BSN Pathway, contact the College of Nursing at firstname.lastname@example.org.