Service has always been a way of life for Matt Partridge.
The Charlotte native joined the Marines straight out of high school, drawn by the Corps’ high standards and strong reputation for molding leaders. “If I was going to join the military, I figured I’d do the hardest thing I can do,” he says.
Partridge got what he bargained for – and then some. An infantryman, he completed two tours in Fallujah, Iraq and served as a combat instructor during eight years of active duty.
Back home in North Carolina and ready to pursue a college degree, Partridge zeroed in on The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). He’d visited friends on campus during high school and his younger brother Daniel had earned a degree from UNCG in 2012. He also has family in nearby Winston-Salem.
Most importantly UNCG offered Partridge, who had grown up interested in health care, a chance to study in a highly regarded nursing program.
Initially enrolling in the fall of 2012, Partridge worked on his pre-requisites for joining the UNCG School of Nursing. After one academic year, he had to take a year off to receive training as a medical technician for his new role with the N.C. Air National Guard. He resumed his studies last year and enters the School of Nursing this fall as a member of its Veterans Access Program (VAP), an innovative initiative that puts military veterans with medical training on the fast-track to earning nursing degrees.
He intends to graduate with a B.S. in nursing in less than two years and hopes to start full-time work as a nurse immediately after that. Eventually he’d like to become a nurse anesthetist.
Partridge believes nursing is a career that will challenge him in ways similar to the Marines – pushing him to learn new information quickly, perform under pressure and work collaboratively to get important things done. The field also offers great opportunities, he says, to make a positive contribution to other people’s lives.
“UNCG has a great nursing program, and I really like the overall campus and the people there,” says Partridge. “This seems like a really good fit for me.”
Story by Stephen Martin, contributor
Photography by Martin W. Kane, UNCG University Relations