Caregiving Position Inspires Student to Pursue Nursing Degree

nursing students gather before a conference trip

LVC nursing major Kyla Smith ’26 begins her day by clocking into her shift at Traditions of Hershey. As a caregiver, she greets her patients and makes light conversation as they settle into morning breakfast. She continues her morning rounds to remind patients to take daily medications and assist other residents with bathing and dressing. Smith wants to create a welcoming environment for residents at the independent living and personal care facility.

“Some of my favorite memories from these experiences are just making clients happy and earning their trust,” said Smith.

Growing up, Smith looked up to her mother for inspiration and wanted to emulate her passion for caring for others. She admires her mother’s hard work and dedication, which has influenced her to follow in similar footsteps as a caregiver and into a nursing career. Smith said, “She always pushed me to go after what I wanted and never was disappointed in me.”

Smith values the supportive faculty, mentors, and independence the LVC nursing program provides. She is also part of the College’s Honors Program, which combines specialized academic and out-of-class opportunities, including designated Honors courses in the Constellation LVC curriculum that focus on hands-on, immersive learning and interdisciplinary exploration. She is confident she will be prepared to provide high-quality care to her future patients confidently.

“What excites me about the nursing field is helping people in a way they may not be able to do alone and having that rewarding feeling when all that effort pays off,” said Smith. “I look forward to constantly learning and communicating with my patients about their lives and condition and making people happy.”

As Smith progresses through the nursing degree, she will participate in clinical rotations to figure out her nursing field specialty. LVC offers placements at Cornwall Manor, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and other regional healthcare organizations.

“I knew this would be my career path when I started working as a caregiver,” said Smith. “I learned a lot about what I was good at and what I enjoyed about the job. Nursing would be many steps up from caregiving, and that is where I want to be.”

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