West Coast University-Los Angeles nursing student Shawn Palmer rarely has free time, and when he does he’s literally giving the shirt off his back to others.
Palmer makes a point of speaking with homeless individuals he encounters around Los Angeles and noted the surprise others have when he starts talking with them or trying to assist them.
“I had a very rough path in life for a while and while I’ve been in their shoes, I’m very fortunate to be where I am now,” Palmer shared. “I strongly feel that the reason I’m here, is to do what I’m doing and help others,” he said. “I’m 40 years old. I worked my tail off to get where I am now and am a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to change your life and do what you want to do.”
In his final semesters of his bachelor of nursing degree at WCU-LA, Palmer is active in the school’s California Nursing Student Association chapter as the newly-voted president, he also served as vice president of CNSA during the past year, all while volunteering at Cedars-Sinai. He also served as a Peer-Assisted Learning coordinator mentoring other students a couple terms ago.
Shawn Palmer, left, speaking to his fellow CNSA members at their meeting in August.
“I think the program at West Coast is great,” Palmer said. “It’s worth every penny that I put into the program because I feel like I could literally walk onto any floor and hold my own. I already feel so competent in my knowledge.”
Palmer transferred into WCU from an assistant nursing program at another college and shares that it’s the support of his WCU professors that sets his experience apart.
“I’ve been in school for a long time, had a lot of different professors, and I’ve honestly had the most incredible and supportive professors at West Coast. They work on putting the tools in front of you that you need at each step of the way.”
Palmer shares that his path to reach the success he’s experiencing now took a lot of work and dedication, and wasn’t always easy.
Part of the reason Palmer is so driven to help others is the experiences he’s conquered. One of his mottos is ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ but that it’s bringing passion and drive to everything that helps him succeed.
“I don’t think you can be a nurse or caregiver without having passion,” Palmer shared. “You have to be honest, have integrity and passion in your heart to be a nurse. The nursing role is giving you to the patients. And that means you have to go into this field for the right reasons.”
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