Crystal St Martin is a caregiver.
After dropping out of high school and getting married, St Martin dedicated her life to raising her family. Over the years that role continued to grow as she helped care for her nieces and nephews, and now for her grandchildren.
But throughout the decades one dream never waned.
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse ever since my kids were little,” said St Martin. “I love to nurse people, it’s my compassion.”
When her children were in elementary school, St Martin completed her GED with the goal of one day earning a degree in nursing. Though she had doubts, she says intuition lead to inspiration.
“It was two years ago, and people were like, you need to go back to nursing school,” St Martin said. “One day I woke up and was like you know what, it’s time.”
St Martin enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Keiser University New Port Richey. She has completed all her clinical hours and is now in her last semester preparing for the NCLEX exam, on her way to becoming a Registered Nurse.
“It was a little bit rough, but as time goes by it gets a little bit easier with each semester. I had a lot of anxiety the first semester,” St Martin said. “I’ve come out of my shell. I’m now the Vice President of the Student Nurses Association. I would have never done that.”
The Student Nurses Association helps to connect and mentor students in the program, preparing them for exams and their future careers as nurses. The group also hosts events and fundraising drives on campus.
“We just try to offer ourselves to other students, incoming students who are struggling in the beginning,” St Martin said. “I just like to offer myself to those who I know are struggling like I struggled.”
St Martin says the support she received at KU New Port Richey has given her the confidence to follow her dreams and succeed in her education.
“The professors are awesome. Student Services are awesome,” St Martin said. “They’re here for you whenever you need them.”
Her children, now grown and beginning families of their own, she says are proud to see her accomplish her goals and continue to root her on.
“I always told them when they were little, you can be whatever you want to be. Whatever it is, put your mind to it and you can do it,” St Martin said. “I’m just proud of who I’ve become and where I’ve gotten from, because it wasn’t easy.”
St Martin hopes to one day work as pediatric nurse in an ICU.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News And World Report in 2022.