Designing Woman

Nursing graduate Katie Jackson helps fellow nurses dress for success

Nurse Katie Jackson makes nursing scrubs fashionable

Nurse Katie Jackson makes nursing scrubs fashionable

Katie Jackson believes you can look good while making people feel good.

As a registered nurse working in the 21st century, Jackson doesn't wear the archaic starched white dress and cap uniform. Instead, she dons comfortable, practical scrubs and Crocs for her shifts.

And now Jackson, a 2021 Registered Nursing graduate, is bringing fashion to those functional garments. The Milwaukee native has started her own line of nursing wear and accessories called NurseBae LLC. Through, Jackson sells scrub sets, outerwear, jackets and accessories that help nurses look and feel their best while healing, teaching, comforting, nurturing and saving lives.

"When I was a nursing student, scrubs just weren't that cute," Jackson said. "They're scratchy. They're boxy. The pants don't fit right. I always say if you look good, you're going to feel good. I wanted to come to work in cute scrubs that made me feel great and ready to conquer the day."

She launched her line in October 2022. "The first day I sold four things," she recalled. "I was kind of sad that it wasn't more but really excited that it was working."

Thanks to a vigorous professional and personal social media presence, Jackson has sold items from her line to all kinds of medical professionals in more than a dozen states and the Virgin Islands.

In 2023, Jackson plans to offer a casual line of crew necks and T-shirts, along with more accessories like Croc pins and stethoscope cases.


I wanted to come to work in cute scrubs that made me feel great and ready to conquer the day.

Katie Jackson owner of NurseBae LLC

Her website and social media posts usually feature nurses of color wearing her products. "I'm always trying to connect with minority communities and highlight those people in healthcare," said Jackson. "I wanted my scrub line to highlight the African American women working hard in the healthcare field, despite all of the adversity we may encounter."

Jackson has always had a flair for fashion. At Milwaukee Public Schools' Rufus King International High School, she styled hair and applied makeup to fellow students for special events like prom and homecoming dances. That gig morphed into a YouTube channel and a blog, where Jackson to this day makes entries discussing her life and career.

"I just go with the flow," she said. "I talk about all kinds of subjects. It's a way to talk about my scrubs, my life, my nursing career."

Growing up, Jackson didn't have any particular role models who influenced her in becoming a nurse. She said her mother considered going into medicine at one time, so there were several medical books at home that sparked her interest.

After high school, Jackson considered attending a historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the South, but then she was accepted into MATC's Promise for New High School Graduates program, which provides free tuition for eligible high school students. In partnership with generous contributors, the MATC Foundation, the college's philanthropic partner, provides scholarships for students where there is a gap between the cost of tuition and financial aid grants.

"You can't beat free school," Jackson said.

She completed her prerequisite classes, then received an associate degree in Registered Nursing in 2021. She finished her MATC education without borrowing any money.

"The first two years are pretty much the same no matter where you go, so you might as well do it for cheaper," she said. "I didn't have a huge amount of money saved up for college. My father told me I would regret not taking two years of college for free, and he was right."

After graduation, she worked at Froedtert Hospital for several months, then signed with an agency to be a traveling nurse. She has worked at various medical locations in the region.

"MATC really prepared me for what I am doing in the working world," Jackson said. "MATC is a fantastic place to start your career."

See Katie Jackson's designs at

Young girl wearing an Angel backpack

Angel backpack

MATC Alumni Spotlight

Guardian Angel

Another MATC alum has put her designing skills to use helping the public. Kim Coleman, a retired MATC Public Safety officer and Commercial Art program graduate, created a backpack that makes children walking to and from school visible to drivers.

The idea came to Coleman when she was driving with her daughter Dionna Hayden. She saw a boy wearing a backpack with a skateboard sticking out of it. For the briefest of seconds, Coleman swore the boy had wings like an angel.

Coleman decided she had received a message: Design what she calls her Angel on My Shoulder Backpack.

"I couldn't get the image out of my mind," Coleman recalled. "I felt it was ordained for me to do these bags. I went home and started sketching."

She completed a design of brightly colored backpacks that have removable light-up wings and reflectors, making wearers more visible to drivers. Coleman went to Armen Hadjinian, longtime lead faculty of MATC's Entrepreneurship program, to get help constructing, marketing and selling her product.

"She built a prototype out of cloth, then paid to have it done in vinyl to make it as close to the finished product as possible," Hadjinian said.

"I've never done anything like this before, so I am learning as I go," said Coleman, who patented her design. "There have been some bumps along the way, but I never once said that I would quit."

Her dream now is to make her backpacks available in stores. "Everyone who has got one has loved it," she said. "I'm learning to be patient and trying not to be anxious. I know I was born for a purpose. I will keep holding on to my dreams and passions."

See Kim Coleman's backpacks on her Facebook page,