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Each spring, Stephen Leitch, clinical assistant professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University hosts a class on selling and sales. The idea is that students develop a product and then sell it—meeting a specified sales goal.
Two students, Zach Singer, a senior from Illinois, and Ha Ho, a senior from Vietnam, were struggling with the project. Both seniors missed the first few weeks of the semester due to COVID-19. By the time they returned to the classroom, groups had been assigned and products were being developed. Both felt left behind and unmotivated. Nothing was sparking their interest.
And then Abby Hayes, senior experience design consultant at IU Health Arnett walked into their class. “Her presentation was awesome. I didn’t even know that a career likes hers even existed, and suddenly it became what I want to do with the rest of my life,” shares Singer.
Singer requested a meeting with Hayes to talk about future career opportunities. Their discussion sparked not only career inspiration, but also an idea for how Singer and Ho could make their class project meaningful.
Over five days and a few key discussions, the Thank A Nurse project came to life: Customers could buy a nurse a cup of coffee via a voucher for $5. The customer could then decorate or write a note on the coffee cup sleeve offering their thanks and appreciation for a nurse. That sleeve serves as the voucher for the nurse to enjoy a favorite beverage.
“This project means so much more to us than the traditional projects. We are giving back. We want our customers to be able to show their appreciation for our nurses,” shares Ho. “To us this project carries more weight.”
“I have four classes but honestly, this is the only one I think about every day,” adds Singer.
The goal is to sell 100 vouchers. The $5 vouchers will be for sale at Market Day, which is Thursday, April 7 from 10:30 – 11:45 am at Marriott Hall on Purdue’s campus. Singer and Ho will also visit IU Health Arnett Hospital on May 6 to sell vouchers. Vouchers may also be purchased through Venmo @ThankANurse. Remember to include a note with payment and the message will be handwritten on a cup sleeve.
Nurses’ Week is May 6 – 12. It is also finals week at Purdue. Singer and Ho will be in the Banyan at Arnett Hospital to personally deliver the Thank A Nurse vouchers to the nurses on their way to get coffee at the Banyan Brew & Bistro.
“The timing on everything is perfect,” explains Singer. “I took a gap year during COVID-19 because who wants to start a sales career during a pandemic? I was delayed in getting started with this class project because I contracted COVID-19. I met Abby because of this class. I now have a project that I am passionate about and a career option that excites me.”
“And we get to thank our nurses who have worked so hard during this pandemic on Nurses’ Week,” adds Ho.