Regan Wickwire comes from generations of healthcare professionals making a difference in Oklahoma. When it came time to choose a university for her own journey to becoming a registered nurse, her bachelors of science in nursing from Southwestern Oklahoma State University truly set her up for success.
While finishing her associate's degree at a community college, Wickwire decided to apply to SWOSU’s nursing program. “I was applying for an ultrasound tech program and right next door they were taking applications for the nursing program…” Though she wasn't planning on going into nursing, something impressed her to apply. She was accepted and started the program soon after.
Knowing that the program would be challenging, especially as a single parent, Wickwire asked her
family members for advice. One of her heroes in life, her grandmother Fran, was a career nurse preparing to retire when Wickwire was making decisions about the next steps in her education and was a constant encouragement to her. Wickwire recalls fondly how her grandparents helped to raise her when she was younger as her mother (also a single parent) was working full-time as a doctors’ assistant.
While she worked full-time and dedicated herself to motherhood and her studies, her mother and grandparents helped her keep it all in balance. “Everyone helped,” Wickwire said, “it really takes a village.”
Wickwire appreciated what SWOSU’s program provided; the flexible schedule, the helpful instructors and administration, and the ability to take her classes fully online so she could be home with her family as much as possible. The university made it attainable for her to finish her program in just one year. When it came time to apply for jobs, Wickwire started applying to positions that interested her and were close to home, and she was quickly offered a position at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City as an RN in their Intensive Care Unit, which was the perfect fit.
Seven years later, she is a successful RN in the same ICU, despite receiving offers elsewhere and opportunities for promotion.
"I love my position,” Wickwire says. “It has made me into the nurse I am today. When people come into the ICU, they’re coming in on the worst day of their lives. I get to help them through that.” Wickwire also expressed how encouraging it was to see younger nurses coming in fresh out of school. “I look at them, unsure and terrified, and it constantly affirms
how far I’ve come. I love telling new nurses ‘You can do this. You have what it takes.’”
Wickwire is now looking to the future. She is considering regional universities as she plans to further her medical education. She wants to continue supporting her family who has supported her in so many ways and help her daughter succeed at whatever she chooses to do.