Their story could be your story. Beginning their careers in one field and changing to a completely new field midstream.
JP Edgar is a local boy – raised in Comanche, attended East Central University and began his career in retail. He was a co-manager at a grocery store in Ada and later a department manager at the “old” Wal-Mart in Duncan. “For 10 years I worked in every section that didn’t have carpet – hardware, health & beauty, fishing and the garden center,” said JP. “One night when I was off shift, on a forklift unloading cow manure in the rain I knew it was time for a change.”
While still working full-time, JP attended the Great Plains Technology Center (Lawton) respiratory school. Graduating with an Associate’s Degree with Registry in Respiratory Therapy, JP worked in Oklahoma City, Lawton, Ardmore and finally called Duncan Regional Hospital home. He is the manager for the Sleep Center, Respiratory, Wound Care Center, E
KG Diagnostics, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Unit (CRU) and Transitional Care Unit (TCU).
Through the years he finished his bachelor’s degree in business from Southern Nazarene University. But JP wanted more and felt nursing was the next step.
Needing to complete a few prerequisites for nursing school, JP attended Cameron University and Oklahoma City Community College for the next year (while working full time). For an Anatomy & Physiology class, JP and others had to spit 5 mils of salvia into a cup so they could break it down into sugars. “It is not easy to spit that much so there were several of us working together. A young man walked over and asked to join us,” said JP. “Through the conversation I discovered he was from Duncan and his name was Adam.”
Adam Duke, another local boy, graduated from Duncan High School and earned a degree in health science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Weatherford). His wife, Leslie, earned her degree in Pharmacy and they ended up in Arkansas where Adam had difficulty finding a job in his field – pharmaceutical sales. Therefore, he worked for Halliburton and drove a truck for two years. Unfortunately, they lost their babysitter so Adam became a stay-at-home dad, taking care of their two sons, Carter and Aidan. When their oldest started school they moved back to Duncan to be near family. During this time Leslie’s mom was diagnosed with ALS and Adam became her caregiver for two weeks every month. It was from this experience that Adam developed a love for nursing. For the next year, he worked on getting his prerequisites.
Both men enrolled in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program through the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. This is an intensive 14-month program where those that have earned a bachelor’s degree in any field can enroll (after meeting required prerequisites).
JP, with the support of Duncan Regional Hospital, still maintained his job while attending classes. “DRH has been great with working with my schedule to attend classes and do my job,” said JP. “Additionally, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my faith and the support of my family, wife Carla and children Ashley and Cam.”
Adam, who juggled school, caring for his children and coordinating with his wife’s work schedule (a pharmacist at Wal-Mart), leaned heavily on his faith. “The instructors, fellow students, family and the Lord have made this possible – you can’t do this alone,” said Adam. “The program was challenging and each day held a new experience. We would give each other IV’s and one time my classmate was inserting the needle and it really hurt, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want them to have to do it again!” “Adam and I became study partners – every Sunday afternoon we would get together for several hours,” said JP. “You become close to your classmates. These are friendships that will last a lifetime.”
The DRH Learning Center made this possible by partnering with the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. “We are so blessed to have this facility here. It houses the latest technology for us to learn on and the convenience of being in Duncan is wonderful,” said Adam.
Both of these men will begin their nursing careers at Duncan Regional Hospital.
Adam Duke, Thuri Maechler, JP Edgar – celebrating their last test of the program!
JP and Adam – from retail and truck driver to
Registered Nurses - they both are great examples
of going after a dream and achieving it through
~ by Cyndi Crook, CFRE