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July 13, 2023

These nursing school grads made IU Health home

IU Health West Hospital

These nursing school grads made IU Health home

IU Health's team environment and career opportunities matter most to Katelyn Vaughan and Brandi Wasson.

By Justin Haberstroh,, intern for IU Health's Indianapolis Suburban Region

Katelyn Vaughan (left) and Brandi Wasson (right) both felt the impact of nurses at a young age. Now, the recent graduates are pursuing full time nursing careers at IU Health West.

Wasson, a nurse on the second floor Medical-Surgical unit, came to IU Health West after working in a cardiac unit at IU Health Methodist. She knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue nursing. Her sister is a NICU nurse in the new Maternity Tower at Riley Hospital for Children.

“At a young age I felt the calling to become a nurse as I got to experience other nurses help my family during a difficult time,” she said. “I want to pay it forward and help other families. Going from a student to a nurse has gone smoothly because my coworkers have been so helpful.”

Vaughan, who worked as a patient care assistant during nursing school before accepting a nursing position on the unit, agreed the transition has been smooth.

“The transition from student to full-time nurse was very smooth for me,” Vaughan said. “I was a float patient care assistant while going to nursing school. After graduating from nursing school, I became a patient care resident, which allowed me to follow different nurses around during their shift. The patient care resident position allowed me to start using my critical thinking skills as a nurse, like prioritizing which patients to see first at the beginning of a shift. Also, the position helped me to become confident in communicating with the different interdisciplinary teams that are involved in patient care.”

Ultimately, it’s the team environment and career opportunities that matter most to both nurses.

"I love working at IU Health West because all the staff are so friendly and welcoming,” Wasson said. Vaughan echoed the supportive environment, adding that she values the career development opportunities available to her.

“There are always opportunities for me to grow in my career,” she said. “When I first started as a float patient care assistant, every shift I was on a different floor, which helped me decide what area I wanted to work in after graduating from nursing school. Also, I love here because I am constantly learning something new every time I work.”

Hannah Blakley, registered nurse and shift coordinator for the unit, has seen their growth from nursing students to full time team members firsthand.

“Brandi and Katelyn both started as nursing students that were ready to start using their skills and knowledge to help others, but they have gone above and beyond for their patients and team members each day by providing compassionate care, being flexible with staff challenges, and always finding that one thing that will make their patient's stay more comfortable,” Blakley said. “The current nursing students on our unit look up to these new graduates and go to them for advice. I am very proud of the nurses they have become in such a short time.”

For interested nurses or nursing students, Vaughan has some advice to share.

“My advice for any healthcare worker who is in nursing school is to find a floor where you potentially want to work after graduating from nursing school and work as a patient care assistant or a patient care resident,” she said. “You will find it less stressful transitioning into the new role as a registered nurse. The support from other team members you will receive will help you grow confidence in your skills as a new graduate nurse.”

IU Health is actively hiring for a variety of roles across the state, including nursing and patient care assistant positions. Visit to learn more.