The down turn in the economy in 1982 is what drew Godfrey Boyd to the military. “In Philadelphia, there were not many opportunities available during the Reagan era and I could not afford college.” With few options, Boyd set his sights on a military occupation in the Army as a Healthcare Specialist.
During his Army career, Boyd made a decision to secure a professional degree while he was still active duty. This single decision turned out to both, prepare him to be able to transition from enlisted to officer (U.S. Army Nursing Program) but, also lay the ground work for his civilian career. “Not only did I NOT want to exit the military without a professional degree, I wanted to set an example for my children.”
Godfrey Boyd enrolled in Excelsior College’s Associate in Science Nursing degree program in 1994, graduating in 1997. “The challenges were tough and I often missed classes due to military obligations. I communicated with my professors and made it work. It was also difficult finding time to practice for the clinical. Needing to be innovative, I worked within the Army structure to receive assistance from the Army medical professionals in being sure I knew the material and could perform the medical tasks to be able to successfully complete the all encompassing Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination.” Boyd was single at this time and connected other soldiers that had similar career goals and they worked together.
Almost right away after completing his Associate Degree in Nursing, Boyd enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Excelsior College and completed that in 1999.
The programs and courses that stood out the most and encouraged him in his academic pursuit were taking 15 semester hours in psychology. “The psychology courses helped prepare me to better understand the thought processes of patients and their families.” After securing his bachelor’s degree, Boyd was able to be picked up for an enlisted to officer commissioning program and retired as an officer, First Lieutenant.
Boyd credits his leadership experience in managing his time for studying and finishing his course work as well as having the option of distance learning available at that time. He adds, “There is no way I would have been able to graduate from college and be a full time soldier without distance learning.”
Today, Godfrey is a senior manager in the Nephrology (a branch of medical science that pertains to diseases of the kidneys) arena and a well respected medical professional with two national certifications, in Nephrology and Nurse Executive-Board Certified. To round out his expertise, he has once again returned to Excelsior College to complete a Certificate in Health Care Informatics.
When asked what advice he could offer to veterans who are deciding on colleges and careers, his states, “Veterans, remember that when you leave the military things change and that security blanket instantly disappears. You have to have a profession that society needs. Never quit and keep your eye on the prize. It is very possible with a plan.”
Godfrey adds a special note, “Mary Beth Hanner was instrumental in setting me on my way to success.” Note: Mary Beth Hanner is now Excelsior College’s Provost.
Godfrey Boyd, Army veteran