By Jessica Tanner
Kaycen Caldwell never thought he would be a Driver’s Education instructor. A fifth-semester nursing student, Caldwell was introduced to the idea by a roommate who thought he would be good for the job. Caldwell was skeptical, but after trying it for himself he found it to be a decent job. “It’s actually pretty nice,” Caldwell admits. “It’s enjoyable. I like it.” He has now been teaching students to drive for two years.
Caldwell appreciates the job’s flexibility and independence. “[My boss] trusts that I’m there, that I’m teaching what I’m supposed to,” explains Caldwell, “and as long as they pass their tests he’s cool with whatever I do.” Caldwell has found crossovers between nursing and being a Driver’s Ed instructor. For one, working with people. Patients and students alike often require time, attention, and patience. Nurses also spend much of their time teaching and explaining. “I’m teaching constantly at work, so it helps with that crossover to teaching patients.” Caldwell says.
When he first came to school, Caldwell was not considering nursing. “I wanted to be a doctor because I thought doctors were the ones who had a lot of patient interaction. I figured out that wasn’t the case; it is actually the nurses that do.” After some encouragement from his mother to consider nursing, Caldwell decided to take the prerequisites to see if he liked them. “I liked it a lot,” Caldwell reports. “So I decided to apply for the program. I got in and ever since it’s been something that I know I’m going to like and do well in.”
When Caldwell is not teaching Driver’s Ed or studying nursing, he is playing sports, running for a Lazy Ironman, or hanging out with friends. “Hobbies are kind of endless,” he says. He also taught himself to juggle and crochet and loves reading. “I always have a book I’m reading that’s not related to nursing,” he says.
Approaching his final semester, Caldwell plans his next step by looking back. His most memorable moments have been working in pediatrics and obstetrics and interacting with sick children and their families. Caldwell is grateful that he and his family have been fortunate not to be affected by similar hardships. “I think it was just sitting in those rooms, talking to the families and everything for me to realize that yeah, you’ve got it good.” These experiences has not just given him perspective but also motivation. “I’m also grateful to be in a position where I can help people who are struggling with those very hard-to-deal-with things in their lives,” says Caldwell. After graduation in December, he hopes to work in the NICU and help those in need.