by Sheryl Marlar

Move over soccer moms! The University of West Georgia would like to introduce Kelly Geary - soccer nurse.

Geary, a senior in the Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor's degree in nursing. During her four years at UWG, she also played soccer for the Wolves.

Kelly Geary playing soccer

“A lot of coaches (at other universities) don’t want nursing students,” Geary said. “They want players who will just focus on soccer. Thankfully, here at UWG, they not only allowed it, but they encouraged me to do both.”

Geary, who is from Snellville, has played soccer her whole life.

“I grew up at the soccer field where my older brother played,” she laughed. “He was my inspiration, I wanted to be better than him.”

When Geary was choosing a college, she didn’t look beyond UWG.

“I needed to be close to home, but not too close,” she explained. “I knew UWG was the right fit after I came to campus and walked around. I love that I can walk everywhere on campus.”

Along with her lifelong love of soccer, Geary also had another dream.

“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “UWG is known for its nursing program. I wanted a school with sports as well.”

Geary has nothing but good things to say about UWG’s athletic facilities.

“The fields and the facilities are beautiful,” she continued. “And everyone is the Athletics Operations Building (AOB) is so great. They really do their best to promote student athletes and do everything they can to help them succeed.”

As athletes at UWG, students’ schedules are pretty full, leaving very little time for anything else.

Kelly Geary

“Kelly was an exceptional personality to have in the program,” said Stacey Balaam, UWG soccer coach. “She was always so structured and organized and managed to give 100-percent effort in both her academics and her soccer. Kelly was a captain for us during her senior year because we felt that there was no better example on how to balance a student-athlete lifestyle and be a positive influence to her teammates.”

”It is amazing,” Geary added, said of the support she has received from the school of nursing. “All of the professors are super-caring and have been willing to work with me. If I missed a clinical due to practice or a game, they would allow me to make it up another day.”

“Kelly is a strong student who has always been proactive in taking responsibility for her learning,” said Kelly Dyar, assistant nursing professor. "She demonstrates a deep desire to not only earn a quality grade, but truly wants to learn the material. Despite her busy schedule as a nursing student and athlete, she has always communicated professionally and well with me and other professors. It has always been clear that her focus is on truly grasping the knowledge needed to be a nurse, and wanting to be a quality nurse. If I were ever to wake up in the hospital, I would be thrilled to see Kelly as my nurse.”

After graduation, Geary hopes to work near home, at Gwinnett Medical Center in labor and delivery. After getting some experience, she’d like to maybe go back to school to become a midwife.

“I wanted a school with sports as well as a nursing program,” Geary concluded. “UWG was the first place I looked and I’ve never regretted it once.”

Posted on November 28, 2017