Eleven years ago, Nathan Crumley’s stepfather was in an industrial accident that left him with third-degree burns over more than a third of his body. The care Crumley saw his stepfather receive inspired him to pursue a nursing career.
“The hospital stay lasted for several months,” said Crumley, who is now a registered nurse and an alumnus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing. “I had just graduated from high school at the time, so it really pushed me to grow up fast. I was able to closely watch all the steps of his recovery, and was so blown away by everyone’s kindness and patience, particularly his nursing team. Initially, I was interested in the devices that physical and occupational therapy used to facilitate independence as he began to heal and wanted to be involved in engineering those. I found out that I wanted to spend more time with the people I was working for, and that led me to pursue nursing. ”
Crumley was recently honored as one of the Memphis Flyer’s 20 under 30, a recognition that highlights young people who are making a difference in the Memphis community. “It was great and unexpected,” he said. “There are a lot of people in nursing I look up to, so to be recognized so early in my career was humbling. I have a lot to live up to.”
A native Memphian, Crumley completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Memphis and obtained his Master of Science in Nursing at UTHSC in 2014. “UTHSC is nestled right in the Medical District around some truly tremendous hospitals,” he said. “UTHSC has a great reputation and people come from far away to be enrolled here. Their nursing curriculum is much more modern than some of the traditional programs and includes some of the latest certifications. It makes sense to stay local.”
Crumley said he made many lifelong friends among classmates and instructors at UTHSC. “The facilities are top-notch and the networking opportunities have been so valuable,” he said. “Spending all night studying in the GEB with friends is among some of my fondest memories.”
After graduation, Crumley spent four years at Regional One Health in the nationally recognized Burn Center. He now works at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit. His favorite aspect of nursing is the one-on-one interactions with patients and their families.
“Being present through all the highs and lows of a critical illness recovery is very enlightening,” Crumley said. “I am always impressed by the hidden strength that emerges when people don’t have another choice but to be strong. When people are having the worst day of their life — maybe they received devastating news that day, and they handle it with grace, and they treat everyone so kind. They have every right to be angry or upset, but choose not to give into those feelings. Seeing how they reallocate that negative energy into a positive energy has completely changed me. Now, when I am having a bad day, I try to do something nice for someone else. You have the opportunity to make someone’s day, and lift your own spirits as well.”