For Paul Logan, there was never a question about which major to pursue. His mother and grandmother were both nurses, and he had gotten some experience in healthcare during summer jobs at a local hospital. As one of the few male nursing majors Paul found he was able to bring a unique point of view to his field and open the door to opportunities he may not have had in other majors.
"I chose Messiah because of the strong nursing program," he says. His other option was Wheaton College in Illinois, where he was recruited to play football. "I didn't really like playing football in high school, so I knew I'd really hate it in college," Paul jokes.
While at Messiah, Paul found himself appreciating the diverse extracurricular environment offered by the college: "I enjoyed the social aspects more than studying, and my wife (also a Messiah College nursing alum) teases me about that to this day," he admits. But for Paul the "social aspect" included more than simply hanging out with his friends. He was on the track and field team and was an active member of the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania
, serving as president his senior year.
"With a professional program like nursing, everything you study in college relates to your chosen career," Paul says. However, he also asserts that college isn't just about learning a profession. "You go to college to learn how to think," he points out. He attests that the critical thinking skills he developed through his general education courses were as helpful to everyday life and his career as the technical skills and knowledge he gained through the nursing program.
After receiving a senior year scholarship from the Public Health Service
, Paul was assigned to the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) directly after graduation. "During my senior year I was a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. My orders arrived before graduation, and along with that the government moved my belongings and me to Bethesda, Maryland. That's a story in and of itself, involving 10 boxes of personal belongings and an 18-wheeler Mayflower moving van jockeying for parking space outside of Frey."
At NIH, he was challenged to provide nursing care to patients with rare heart problems. But he soon knew that bedside nursing was not what he wanted to do. The role of the acute care nurse practitioner was being designed, and he wanted to be a part of it. Thanks to the influence of his nursing professors Kay Huber, Jan Towers, and several others, he headed off for the University of Pennsylvania to study advanced practice nursing.
• "Being a nursing major can open a number of doors. Nursing is a great stepping stone because it touches so many areas-- management, teaching, medicine, social work, and nutrition. Almost everybody can find something in nursing that's a good fit for them. If you like blood and guts there's plenty of that, and if you don't like to get your hands dirty there's that too."
Paul moved to Philadelphia and built his skills working in a heart surgery ICU while he attended the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated and took a job as a cardiovascular nurse practitioner at the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. He was the first nurse practitioner in the cardiology department, but five others joined the staff during his tenure. Paul left there to work with the Cardiovascular Associates of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a private cardiology practice where he worked for ten years. During those years, he edited Principles of Practice for the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a textbook for nurse practitioners used in schools throughout the country.
Paul's experiences culminated in 2004 when he established Logan Solutions, an information technology provider that works directly with clients in the medical field. His previous work in the medical field enables him to better understand the technological needs of doctors and nurse practitioners. "Many people who know technology can set up services, but having someone who knows medicine selling these technological solutions is very unique," Paul says. "You can teach a medical person about technology, but try teaching a tech guy about medicine. It is much more difficult."
Paul's typical day is anything but "typical." When he's not seeing patients or implementing solutions for customers, he's spending time with customers or developing the business. Logan Solutions recently developed a "mini-EMR" (electronic medical records) system that uses voice recognition software to convert speech into formatted letters that can be sent to referring doctors. Logan Solutions provided the software and the customization that saves practices thousands of dollars a year in transcription costs.
Paul continues to work part-time as a nurse practitioner. "I still enjoy medicine," he says, "It's a very rewarding career. When you're working with computers you don't get nearly the satisfaction that you get from treating someone's heart and impacting his or her life." As a nurse practitioner, Paul's duties include seeing patients in the ICU who are critically ill, supervising stress tests, prescribing medicines, consulting with patients and doing follow-ups.
"There's nothing better than knowing you saved somebody's life or otherwise impacted them," Paul says. He describes a patient he recently saw in the office. "The last time I saw her, she was coding in the cath lab and I was doing CPR on her. To see her in the office after that was a great thrill. Critical care nurses get to see their patients get better and walk out of the hospital, but having an office practice too means you get to keep seeing them in the office for years later. What other career regularly gives you that kind of feeling?"
Just as Paul sees the field of medicine as full of 'why' moments, he also recognizes that it is equally filled with opportunities for service. For Paul, "having an opportunity to touch people's lives" is what service is all about.
Paul is working hard to ensure that Logan Solutions will continue to grow and be successful. "That's really my major goal right now," he says.
Find out how other Messiah graduates became entrepreneurs:
Liz Demery, owner of comedy club
Katrina Hunsberger Didot, owner of restaurant and catering business
Shelly Tolo, owner of event planning company
Deb Pierson, owner of computer consultation business
Profile by Tyler Baber and TIffany DeRewal, June 2006