Kennesaw State nursing graduate looks to new medical career
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 14, 2021) — For Kennesaw State University nursing major Roberto Escobar, the iconic white lab coat is more than just an accoutrement.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in nursing this week, he soon will don that coat, common among medical professionals, as an intensive care unit nurse at Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome, Georgia. When he slips it over his shoulders on his first day at work, the former neurosurgery resident in his native Venezuela will return to the familiar environment of the medical field.
“Recently I was missing my white coat, and a friend told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll meet with it again someday,’” Escobar said. “For me, the white coat represents having a healthcare degree, being able to take care of patients and helping people.”
Escobar came to America from Punto Fijo, Venezuela, in July 2015. Initially, he traveled to the Atlanta area on vacation to visit an uncle, who told Roberto about Kennesaw State. Escobar spoke very little English, so he enrolled in KSU’s Division of Global Affairs’ Intensive English Program. Knowing his background in medicine, his program instructors then suggested he study nursing at KSU so he could take advantage of the affordable education in a well-known program and keep working in the medical field.
“At first, I did not want to go back to college because I already had a medical degree, and I missed doing surgery,” he said. “But after getting advice from my family and friends, I realized that studying here would open many more doors, help me practice my English, review some medical concepts and learn some new things.”
Clinical assistant professor of nursing Toni Johnson praised Escobar for applying his medical training to his lessons and helping fellow students where he could, along with setting an example as a lifelong learner, involved member of the community and top-notch student. Escobar joined Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society and was active in KSU's Student Nurses Association, First Generation Owls and the Recruitment, Retention and Progression to Graduation program for Latino and Hispanic students.
Now that Escobar has earned his nursing degree and has a job as a nurse waiting for him, he doesn’t plan to stop there. While working in the hospital in Rome, he plans to study for the United States Medical Licensing Exam to become a licensed physician and become a surgical resident. He said he has professional opportunities he never dreamed possible, and he owes much of his success to KSU.
“I have met wonderful people here, and I have achieved so much on this campus that it will always be in my memories,” he said. “I think earning my nursing degree will help me transition to become a physician here in the future when I pass my medical boards.”
And he’ll always have his white coat.
– Dave Shelles
Photos by Judith Pishnery
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.