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Meet Ashwin Patankar '21

Growing New Roots

Ashwin Patankar portrait

Posted on 05.17.21 by Maddie Loverich in School of Nursing

If anything has been constant in the last five years for Linfield nursing student Ashwin Patankar, it’s change.

Ashwin in the simulation labThe 30-year-old moved to Portland from India five years ago with a burgeoning career in marketing. In a complete twist, he’s now headed into his fourth and final semester of nursing school.

“I wanted to do something where my job satisfaction comes from the actual work,” Ashwin said. “I feel like with a lot of jobs, you do them to get a certain result and it can feel like ‘Oh, I did a great job’ or ‘The past week was a waste of time.’ In nursing, the job satisfaction lies within the things you do for people.”

The goal to become a nurse is a relatively new one for Ashwin.

After he attended college at Symbiosis International University in India, he worked a six-month stint at a rehabilitation center, which helped him realize his interest in the healthcare industry.

He concluded that nursing would be a viable career option after meeting and talking to people in the nursing field when he moved to Portland. He remembers thinking that they always seemed to enjoy their lives, so he decided to pursue nursing school.

He worked to complete his prerequisite courses as he worked at Trader Joe's. One day, a friend came in and excitedly told Ashwin that she had just finished her first semester of nursing school at Linfield. She highly encouraged him to apply.

Even though he wasn’t sure he was ready yet, Ashwin made the leap and reached out to the Office of Admission with nothing to lose. His inquiry was immediately met with enthusiasm by the admission team, and he knew immediately that he had made the right decision.

“It was really a nice, warm experience and I didn’t feel like just a number on a list,” he said.

His first semester began just five weeks before COVID-19 shut down in-person classes. Fortunately, those weeks gave the students and teachers chances to form a bond before instruction moved into an entirely online format over Zoom.

“We would join the Zoom an hour before class to chat and talk about Tiger King,” Ashwin remembered. “So, we created a community while we were all stuck. I’m fortunate that we had school at that time.”

During that abnormal first semester, he took the Foundation of Community-based Nursing Practice class. The class, taught by Professor Jordan Ferris, has had a profound impact on him during his schooling.

“She really got our class together during the pandemic and taught us to think like a nurse,” he said. “Everything I’ve learned after that has just built off of what she taught me.”

He recently finished a labor-intensive third semester full of clinicals, which is when students are given the opportunity to treat patients at the Portland Providence Hospital during 12-hour shifts once a week through the semester.

Ashwin Patankar at a cafe“There was lots of caffeine,” he laughed.

“But, I realized how far I’ve come. From learning the super basics last year to now being able to apply and bring everything together to actually know what to do. A lot of these moving parts have now come together.”

Altogether, Ashwin credits the strong teaching staff on campus for his positive experience as a Wildcat. He plans to graduate in December and will look to continue his nursing career in Portland.

“I’m growing roots, I have friends here, so I’d love to stay,” he said. “This place works for me.”