Since earning his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016, South University, West Palm Beach alumnus Phillip Smith has found success in his nursing career as well as started an organization for giving back to his community. Looking back, he believes that attending South University was crucial for building both his career and his confidence.
“The faculty and staff at South University affirmed my strengths and encouraged me to keep reaching higher beyond my comfort zone,” Philip shares. “They put me in positions where I could leverage my previous career experience to stand out from among my peers. They took an interest in me as a person and were willing to go the extra mile and share my vision for my career.”
Phillip first found South University while searching for schools online. He chose the University for its reputation in the community and the team’s willingness to work with him to make his return to school a positive experience. “They took the time to accommodate me and make me feel like a priority, not just another applicant,” he explains.
After previously working in retail and customer service, Phillip wanted to continue helping others by entering a career in healthcare. Several of his family members already worked in the field, giving him familiarity with possible career options. “Healthcare aligns my passion to advocate for our most vulnerable patients with my experience in customer service leadership,” he says.
As a student in the South University, West Palm Beach BSN program, Phillip enjoyed his coursework and appreciated that support was always available from faculty and staff. “South University provided me with a curriculum that was both enriching and relevant to my real-world experience” he recalls. “There was an elevated level of professionalism that pushed me each day to be the best version of myself in and out of the classroom.”
After earning his nursing degree, Phillip felt well-positioned to enter the field, thanks to not only his education but the career support that South University provided. “The school’s investment in building my resume and coaching me on the interview process gave me added confidence to the clinical competence I acquired under their guidance,” Phillips says.
His first role in healthcare was as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center. He provided direct bedside care in telemetry, med-surg, surgical specialty, rehab, emergency room, and stepdown settings. In 2019, Phillip joined Trustbridge Hospice and Palliative Care providing continuing education services for nursing and social work staff. Before long, Phillip moved up in the organization. He became their Clinical Admissions Manager in 2021 and, most recently, VP of Strategic Development in 2022. He also has a certification in stroke care.
“I can't say enough about my experience at South University,” Philip shares. “I am so grateful for how they helped shape me into the nurse I am today. My career has taken off beyond what I thought was capable and South University had a big part in making my dreams a reality.”
Outside of his nursing career, Phillip is also active in his church and community. He is founder and president of Common Gents, a non-profit that partners with schools, churches, and local organizations to equip young men to positively influence their world and be the best version of themselves.
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