February 18, 2016 at 11:45am

A native of the western part of Nigeria and a healthcare professional, Millikin University graduate student Francis Oke has taken a unique path to finding his passion for nursing practice.

Oke's journey has led him to becoming a candidate in Millikin's Master's Entry Level into Nursing Practice (MENP), a track designed for students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree and are interested in entering the nursing field. 

Oke went to medical school in Nigeria and practiced for a number of years before relocating to the United States in 2007. He took the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. He was certified by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners in November of 2010.

Due to a few factors, Oke was not able to get into a medical residency program. Hoping that opportunity would come his way, Oke decided to pursue a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Chicago State University (CSU).

Oke worked as a cardiac monitor technician at Loyola University Medical Center and Hospital in Maywood, Ill., and at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Oke was placed on the Dean's List at Chicago State University in 2013 and 2014, and was named Best Biochemistry Graduate Student at Chicago State in 2014.

"As I got involved with the CSU program I discovered that I was still missing something," Oke said. "I realized my passion for nursing practice, so I researched schools in Illinois with nursing practice programs and I found Millikin. I wanted to be a part of Millikin's history." 

Since enrolling at Millikin, Oke has been performing research at Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) and has been working as a graduate assistant in Millikin's School of Nursing.   

"I'm able to do research and work at Decatur Memorial Hospital all because of Millikin University," Oke said. "I have the opportunity to be a tutor at Millikin and teach students which is a great opportunity because it's something I enjoy. In every career there are crossroads and my field requires a lot of practice. Millikin has opened another opportunity for me in nursing."     

Upon completion of the Master's Entry Level into Nursing Practice, Oke plans to enroll in Millikin's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. Millikin's Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused doctorate designed to prepare advanced practice nurses to lead practice changes based on evidence to improve patient outcomes in complex healthcare systems.