Rogers State University’s nursing program has a reputation for being tough and James Croft said completing the associate degree is the hardest thing he has ever done.
Coming from James, that means a lot. He is currently a Sergeant in the Oklahoma National Guard and spent more than a year serving in Iraq.
James said he had always wanted to become a nurse. While working as a medic in Iraq from December 2003 to February 2005, he made the decision to pursue a degree in nursing when he returned to the U.S.
The Chouteau native researched nursing programs and chose RSU because of the quality of its program.
Prior to serving in the Oklahoma National Guard, James earned an associate degree in biology from RSU’s predecessor institution Rogers State College. He also served for four years overseas in the U.S. Army and worked for MCI. He says neither of his deployments compared to the rigor of the RSU nursing program.
“They push you beyond your limits and help you do things you didn’t think you could do,” he said. “You have to put everything you have into the program.”
With the help of great instructors and a lot of work, James said nursing skills eventually became second nature to him.
James, however, almost didn’t have a chance to finish his degree when he was called to return to Iraq last year. “I don’t mind going back, but I wanted to finish school first,” he said. The day before he was to deploy, James found out he was taken off the list and was able to remain in school.
After graduation James will work as a nurse in the cardiac telemetry unit at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. “It makes me feel good to know I can make someone feel better,” he said.