IU South Bend health care alumni create family tradition
Written by Kathy Borlik
In the midst of the pandemic, life goes on for everyone. People look for a new normal. For first responders and medical personnel, life’s road is somewhat rocky.
Paul Applegate, BA’14, General Studies, and his wife, Christine Applegate, BS’11, Nursing, understand better than most what could happen. “We’ve talked about it. We restrict our time with the grandkids. There is more care, less interaction.”
Both Paul and Christine know apprehension is part of their jobs.
Paul is a South Bend Fire captain and paramedic. Christine is a registered nurse and weekend supervisor at small hospital in Plymouth.
Both are IU South Bend graduates and are part of three generations on the campus. His mother, Lorrie earned her education degree and taught at Holy Cross Grade School in South Bend. Paul and Christine’s son Matthew is currently studying nursing.
Paul also teaches paramedic science at Ivy Tech, South Bend. He has special pride in preparing the next generation of paramedics for the job. “That is a huge reward to see them pass the test and get on the department.”
They spoke recently about the jobs and the unknown. Christine said the hospital is prepared for whatever happens. “We’ve done extra training with PPE (personal protection equipment). Lots of prep. We know not to come in if we’re sick. We’re not anxious, we’re extra cautious.”
With all the plans and training, situations can change in an instant even in the small hospital, she said. She added that she has great trust in the staff and nurses. “It is teamwork that matters. We can adjust and get this behind us.”
Paul said the number of ambulance runs have varied and then dropped off drastically. “People are afraid to call. They are afraid to go to the hospital and then the patient is very sick.”
He expressed frustration with people who disregard advice and still gather in groups. “Just be smart, that’s my suggestion” on how to get through COVID-19.
Both said their IU education helped them prepare for their careers and they have found their niches. “A paramedic-firefighter is an awesome career. Never regretted going into it,” Paul said.
Christine said she tried a number of careers before finding nursing. “I knew I could do this.” She knew the complexity of the career because an aunt and a sister were nurses. She understood what faced her.
She also cited the fine nursing instructors at IU South Bend who prepared her for challenges.
They see their son as another fine example of the education in South Bend. “He loves the school. He will make such a good nurse. He will make a difference. Matthew understands that the job often comes first,” Christine said.