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For nursing alumnus, Peter Gillen, SIUE had everything he was looking for in a university. He was drawn to SIUE for the gorgeous campus, modern buildings and location in relation to his hometown of Lincoln, Ill. Peter knew what he was looking for in a university, and SIUE offered the structure and academic programs that interested him.
Peter knew that his ambitions would lead him down a health sciences career path. Once at SIUE, he said that nursing became an obvious choice for him. “It sounds cliché, but I went into nursing because I wanted to help people,” Peter said. “I also knew that I wanted to be in a hands-on working environment.”
Peter’s passion for helping others is a central part of his education. He credits the School of Nursing and his clinical experiences for pushing him to be a better nurse. “With every clinical, there are so many new experiences,” said Peter. “The nurses we work with in the clinical setting offer so many learning opportunities, and we are able to make connections and apply what we've learned in our classes.
“In my first clinical, which was in a pediatric unit, one of my patients was a little girl who had cystic fibrosis," said Peter. "As part of her treatment, she had to wear a shaker vest. My partner and I were in the room trying to keep her occupied, so we let her paint our fingernails. That clinical made me realize that sometimes nursing is not about the technical care that you’re providing. It's about being there for your patients and making them feel comfortable regardless of their situation.”
In his free time, Peter works once a month on the burn unit at Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Ill. He also enjoys working out and spending time with friends.
After graduation, Peter hopes to work in the intensive care unit of a hospital in order to spend time in a fast pace nursing environment. He has considered furthering his education in the future, potentially at SIUE. “If I can come back to SIUE for more education, I will. It's a great education at a great value.”