At 18-1/2 years old, Morgan Walesh landed her "dream job." She was the youngest person ever hired as a flight attendant by Midwest Airlines. But her dream didn't last long. After only 18 months, she was laid off following the buyout of Midwest by Republic Airlines. As many people do, Walesh turned to Milwaukee Area Technical College in search of training for a new career.
Looking for a challenging career in a field with job stability and flexible scheduling, Walesh decided to pursue a nursing degree. She studied practical nursing at MATC, graduating with her diploma in December 2010. She currently works as a pediatric nurse for the Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI) and is continuing her education to become a registered nurse in MATC's LPN-RN Educational Progression program.
Entering the nursing program was a bit of a leap for Walesh. "I have a fear of needles," she said. "But I know I can get over something that bothers me. There's no 'testing of the waters' with me. No dipping my toe in cold water. If I want to do something, I just jump right in."
Likes "Drama" of Nursing
Nursing suits Walesh very well. "I really enjoy it," she said. "I like the drama of nursing," she said. "I don't like to be bored. I don't want to be sitting at a desk doing the same thing every day. Actually, I didn't think I'd like it as much as I do."
She particularly enjoys pediatric nursing. "I come from a big family and oftentimes, I get along with kids better than their adult counterparts," she said. "I find they really keep you on your toes."
Walesh works in MCFI's Pediatric Special Care Unit, which cares for children with physical disabilities and developmental delays. There are two or three teachers at all times in the main unit, along with one nurse and one certified nursing assistant for every five or six children. The pediatric unit cares for youth ranging from infancy to 20 years of age, with most of the children being under seven.
Walesh is studying to become a registered nurse
in MATC’s LPN-RN Educational Progression program.
Walesh visits with youngsters
in MATC's Child Care Center.
Some children attend traditional schools and come to the center following school each day. Others spend all day at the center. Their healthcare needs vary. Some of the children face severe challenges, such as being hooked to ventilators, being non-responsive or having seizures. As the nurse, Walesh is responsible for making sure they get their medication, monitoring their condition and handling medical emergencies.
"MCFI is the only place like this in the state," Walesh said. "We try to give the kids a more 'normal' experience than they'd have otherwise. It's nice to work for an organization that has the same beliefs and values you do." MCFI also has programming for adults with disabilities.
Walesh serves as a "pool nurse" at MCFI, which allows her to work three days a week and to shift her schedule so she can attend MATC classes and clinicals. Taking the three-semester LPN-RN Educational Progression program is an advantage for Walesh over the traditional registered nursing associate degree program because it allows licensed practical nurses up to19 advanced standing nursing credits after passing an exam.
"MATC has given me the best opportunity to learn about the field of
nursing at the best cost, while being in the best learning environment."
-- Morgan Walesh
Instructors with Real World Experience
Walesch is very pleased with her education. "MATC has given me the best opportunity to learn about the field of nursing at the best cost, while being in the best learning environment," she said. "The student-to-teacher ratio is low, so we really get to know our instructors on an individual basis. I believe we get more personal attention than we'd get at a four-year school. Our instructors have a great deal of real world experience and they share their expertise. You really listen when they talk because they care about you and want you to succeed. The hands-on learning we get at MATC is so much better than learning from textbooks."
After finishing the RN program, Walesh would like to travel and possibly join the Peace Corps. She also wants to continue her education and earn bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing some day. "I like being in school," she said. "I foresee myself always trying to advance. In nursing, you never stop learning. There's so much information out there. There are no limits. I like to take advantage of all opportunities and not have any regrets. I like setting goals and achieving them."
Losing her "dream job" with the airline may have been a blessing in disguise. "I really like the direction my life has gone in since I was laid off," she said.
Walesh is a pediatric nurse at Milwaukee Center for Independence.
For more information on MATC's nursing programs, visit:
Practical Nursing Diploma:
Practical Nursing LPN-RN Educational Progression Associate Degree:
Registered Nursing Associate Degree: