Dalton State Nursing Student Balances her Dream with her Passion


Keyle Snyder holds an enormous responsibility caring for patients at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.

“In the end, someone’s life is in my hands,” Snyder said.

Snyder is a nurse tech at Erlanger Medical Center on the cardiac step-down unit. She works side by side with nurses who care for patients that have been deemed well enough to be released from the intensive care unit, but still require extra care for their condition.

Snyder is gaining the knowledge she needs to become a registered nurse through Dalton State’s Associate of Science in Nursing. Her compassion for others is what inspired her to enter the nursing program, but Snyder said there was a part of her life she was not ready to give up, soccer.

“Because nursing is such a rigorous field most students assume they can’t participate in extracurricular activities like sports. Keyle has demonstrated studying to be a nurse and playing on the soccer team are not mutually exclusive,” said Deborah Richardson, associate professor of nursing.

While pursuing her associate degree, Snyder made the Academic All-Conference team for the SSAC playing forward position for Dalton State’s women’s soccer team last fall. Snyder said soccer is a lifelong passion of hers.

“Keyle is what I like to call a global thinker,” said Interim Athletic Director and Director of Soccer Saif Alsafeer. “We all get bogged down and have stressful and difficult moments, but we must be able to remove ourselves and look at the bigger picture, which is exactly what Keyle does. She can picture her future and how she will be better for all the sacrifices she makes now.”

Alsafeer said Snyder’s success comes from her ability to embody certain principles that are incorporated into the soccer program.

“Having integrity and competitive greatness, being a hard worker and servant to our community and team, are values that Keyle embodies whether she is on or off the field,” Alsafeer said.  

In true Roadrunner fashion, Snyder spent a lot of her time traveling on the road among campus, clinicals and the soccer field. She said some of her success comes from taking the time to schedule each day and communicating with her professors and coach.

“She has been proactive communicating with faculty so we can arrange her clinical experience to accommodate her athletic schedule,” Richardson said. “She collaborates with classmates and utilizes the tools provided to be sure she performs well academically.”

One of the tools used to achieve this, Richardson said, is the multi-disciplinary simulation lab that replicates a hospital environment preparing students for scenarios they might experience on-the-job.

“I didn’t know of anyone who had tried and successfully tackled what I was trying to accomplish, and that was scary,” Snyder said. “I would not have been able to do this without Coach Saif and Deb both being so supportive and encouraging.”

Snyder graduates this spring and has plans to complete the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. She plans to return to Dalton State to complete the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“Dalton State just provides the perfect situation for me,” Snyder said. “I get to be close to home, school, and I get to play soccer.

“I am happy I have decided to tackle these programs that mean so much to me,” she said. “Not only for myself, but also to show other students you don’t have to choose between your dream and your passion.”