Paul Coyne,  A Nursing Graduate Inspired by His Nurses


At age 22, Paul Coyne was an analyst at Goldman Sachs, seemingly poised at the beginning of a career in finance. Then he had a stroke, and the care he received from nurses motivated him to change careers. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Columbia, he is receiving a master’s degree in May from Columbia Nursing’s adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program.

Mr. Coyne’s thalamic stroke left him with weakness on the right side and severe aphasia. “Even though I have made a full recovery, the memory of having no voice remains. When asked why I want to become a nurse, this is what I say: It was the nurse in the hospital who stayed past her shift to watch home videos of me singing to help me remember who I was and regain my memory.  It was the nurse practitioner who called me every week not just to adjust my Coumadin levels, but also to ask how my girlfriend is doing. It was the nurse who held my hand, the nurse who encouraged me, the nurse who made me believe in myself again. It was the nurse, who did not just give me back my health, but who gave me back my life.”

To express his gratitude for nurses, he decided to pursue a career that would put him in a position to “hopefully make that difference for someone else.”