There were a lot of reasons that BHC nursing instructor Kim Hurley could have given up or headed down the wrong path as she was growing up.
– She had cancer when she was 4 years old and underwent chemo for two years.
– She gave birth to a baby boy when she was 15.
– She dropped out of school during her sophomore year.
But instead of letting her challenges drag her down, she worked hard. Now 31 years old, she is pursuing a doctorate in nursing and teaching future nurses.
Kim Hurley left Moline High School to work full-time to support herself and her son. She knew she wanted her high school diploma, so she enrolled in the Black Hawk College Optional Education Program.
Through Optional Ed, she was able to earn her diploma from Moline High School in April 2000. Because she graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, Kim received a scholarship to attend Black Hawk College.
In the fall of 2000, the young mother became a college student in pursuit of an associate degree. After her first semester, she was on the honors list.
Kim worked full-time as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) while she took classes. She earned an associate in arts then applied for and was accepted into the college’s Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program.
In December 2004, she completed the ADN program and earned her second associate degree from Black Hawk College.
After graduating, she went to work in the pediatric unit at Trinity Medical Center.
“I was attracted to pediatrics because I had cancer as a child and had fond memories of the nurses that cared for me growing up,” she says.
Working as a nurse was gratifying, but also opened another avenue for Kim.
“I did not plan on teaching while I was a student,” she said. “However, while working as a floor nurse, I found that I enjoyed teaching patients and families. I decided to further my education so that I could teach nursing students.”
She worked 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in pediatrics while pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In the fall of 2009, she realized her dream of teaching when she was hired as a part-time instructor in Black Hawk College’s Practical Nursing (LPN) program.
“My first part time teaching job offer was exciting and intimidating,” she says. “I had originally applied to see how I would like it to determine if I wanted to continue to go on for my nurse practitioner or nurse educator.
“I chose to teach at Black Hawk College because of the quality education our nursing students receive. The college has an excellent reputation in the community for quality nursing education,” she says.
Kim continued to work full-time at Trinity while teaching. And as if having two jobs wasn’t enough, she decided to earn a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.
Then Kim realized that she wanted only one job – nurse educator. She joined the Black Hawk College faculty full-time in the fall of 2011.
“I decided to stop working as a nurse and be an educator because of Dr. Sally Flesch’s influence and my positive experiences in the LPN program,” she says.
Now she teaches Level 1, 2 and 3 ADN students in their clinicals as well as LPN students in PN 105 Pharmacology in Practical Nursing, PN 110 Basic Anatomy & Physiology and the LPN pediatric clinical. She advises the BHC chapter of the National Student Nurses’ Association and is the faculty representative for the LPN student representative program.
“I have enjoyed seeing students’ response to the program and how abstract concepts become realities on the hospital units as they learn to connect the two,” Kim says.
“I am looking forward to continuing to educate future nurses and continue to help develop the important concepts of critical thinking and compassion in nursing.”
While teaching future nurses, Kim also has been a student. She is pursuing a doctorate degree and plans to focus her dissertation research on nursing student retention.
She has this advice for current and future BHC nursing students – “Learn how to manage your time well. It is a skill that you will need during school and after graduation and will make your life much easier!”
“I also would recommend that they build relationships with other students. This helps them to develop relationship skills, a support system, and friendships that last long after graduation.”
In June 2012, Kim attended another Black Hawk College graduation ceremony, but not as a graduate.
She had been visiting the college’s GED classes and sharing her story and was asked to be the guest speaker at the June 2012 GED and High School Graduation Celebration, addressing students who are where she once was.
“She is truly, truly an inspiration,” said Marla Andich, retired coordinator of the college’s Early School Leaver Transition program.
Last updated 9/16/2014