Randy McGonigal, BSN ʻ17, RN, has wanted to be a nurse as long as he can remember. Once, when he was just five years old, he was staying with his grandmother when she had to lie down because her back pain was so bad.
“I was trying to help her because she hurt,” McGonigal recalls. “I put two pillows under her knees, and when she woke up, she said she felt better. That was formative.”
Years later, when McGonigal started working in hospitals, he was living at home with his family to save money. Each day as he left for work, he says, “Mom would say, ʻTreat every patient like your granny.ʼ Itʼs a good mantra.”
ʻTHEY MET ME WHERE I WASʼ
McGonigal was working as a tech at Paoli Hospital to support a young and growing family when Drexel University offered him a path to fulfill his dream of becoming a nurse.
In 2013, McGonigal was accepted with concurrent admission to Drexelʼs College of Nursing and Health Professions and Delaware County Community College (DCCC). He did his clinicals at DCCC while taking one online course each quarter at Drexel. After earning his associateʼs degree from the community college, McGonigal passed his boards to be a registered nurse, and then entered Drexelʼs ADN to BSN program—finishing his coursework for his BSN from Drexel in just nine months.
“Drexel made it doable,” says McGonigal, who is married with five children. “They met me where I was.”
PASSING IT ON
Since graduating from Drexel with his BSN in March 2017, McGonigal has worked as a clinical resource nurse for Main Line Health at its four area hospitals. He is considering two options for his future, both of which involve Drexel.
In the short term, he is thinking of getting a nurse practitioner degree, which would offer "more autonomy and being able to do more for patients." He also would like to eventually get a nursing doctorate degree so he can be a nurse educator and professor. "I want to be able to teach, to pass it on to the next generation of nurses," McGonigal says.