Nursing major Silas Kukawekasem learned a lot in his four years at Calvin. He learned the skills he needs to succeed as an RN in the mental health field. And he learned what it means to follow Christ’s plan for him. See where he's been and where he's going now.
Why did you choose to go to Calvin?
Calvin stood out to me because of its large percentage of international students. Being born and raised in Thailand, I was excited to be part of a community of people who grew up abroad.
One of the main reasons was the generous financial aid package I was offered. My scholarships allowed me to receive a liberal arts education without too much financial stress.
How did your classes make you a better nurse?
Calvin prepared me to be a nurse by providing me with a well-rounded approach to patients. For example, sociology opened my eyes to social constructs that influence my patients’ thinking and the communities that affect the health of patients. Theology reinforced the idea that each patient who comes under my care is an image bearer of God and my role as an agent of renewal in their life.
My nursing courses encouraged me to see patients as more than a diagnosis or a room number. I feel equipped to take a step back and see each patient as a valued child of God who comes from a unique geographical and cultural setting. This approach to patient care allows me to connect with the client and provide care that is relevant to that patient.
What was one of the most significant ways you grew while at Calvin?
Growing up in Thailand, mental health issues were considered taboo. At Calvin, I had to lay down a lot of my preconceptions about mental illness. I discovered how prevalent mental issues are and how it makes people uncomfortable, even in the States. I hope to break down stigmas surrounding mental illness and work to make the marginalized feel accepted and heard.
How has your Calvin education helped you outside of nursing?
Calvin gave me a deeper understanding of my purpose as a follower of Christ. At Calvin, I learned that nursing was just one dimension of my mission to bring peace to God’s creation. Calvin opened my eyes to being an agent of renewal in every part of my life, from taking out the trash to caring for patients in the hospital.
What are you doing now?
I’ve done leadership rotation on a psychiatric medical unit and found working with psychiatric patients very fulfilling.
Recently, I passed the nursing boards. And soon, I will begin working at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services as a registered nurse.