Ryan Hegney ‘23
For Ryan Hegney ’23, it was simple: He wanted to become a nurse to make a difference in the world.
He has already done that in so many ways at the University of Hartford, and is now taking his talents and compassion to patients at Northwell Health as a new registered nurse.
Hegney graduated Summa Cum Laude from UHart with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)—one of the first to enter the major, which saw its first graduating class this spring. Throughout his academic journey, Hegney actively participated in various campus clubs, organizations, and societies, leaving a lasting impact on the University community and nursing program.
“Throughout my life I always wanted to create change for the world, but when I looked at that vision in a smaller picture, I realized I could do that by being a nurse. By caring for others and my future patients, I am not only changing one world, but I have the opportunity to change multiple worlds—my patients’ worlds—each time I go into work,” he says.
Upon graduation, Hegney passed his NCLEX-RN exam and began his career. He credits his success to the amazing relationships he formulated with his college advisor and the nursing department, as well as the building of the Hursey Center where he was able to develop crucial clinical skills in the simulation labs.
“Joyce Thielen was always there for me. I would walk into her office all the time and have chats with her, alongside with the rest of the nursing department. They always loved to support and hear stories, and were always receptive to feedback from students,” he says. Thielen helped launch and run the program.
During his time at the University, Hegney served as the publicity chair for the Resident Hall Association, a Village senator and secretary for the Student Government Association, and a resident assistant (RA). Additionally, Hegney joined the National Student Nurses Association, where he explored several opportunities to further his nursing career.
As an RA, Hegney provided support and guidance to his fellow students and brought light to inclusiveness by holding several diverse education events, like an American Sign Language night and “Flavors of Inclusion,” an ice cream event where different flavors and toppings had their own representation.
Hegney wants to thank two individuals at the Office of Residential Life: Resident Director Madelyn Bell and his previous supervisor, Emma Cipriani. He said that they were his “biggest supporters” as a nursing student and an RA because they were flexible and helped him to be “a greater leader and a high-achieving academic student.”
Hegney’s dedication to academic excellence and leadership was evident through the several awards he was granted, including “Resident Assistant of the Year” for his commitment to the Office of Residential Life, the “Disguised Leader” award for the impact he made as a part of the first pre-licensure nursing graduating class, and his induction into the international honor society, Sigma Theta Tau, where he also won a scholarship for male excellence in nursing.
Beyond academics and campus involvement, Hegney actively contributed to the surrounding community. He donated his time to volunteer at a maternal health crisis event, administer COVID-19 vaccinations, and assist in flu vaccination clinics, demonstrating his commitment to public health.
As he embarks on his nursing career, Hegney’s dedication and passion will undoubtedly continue to inspire and uplift those he encounters, making a difference in the lives of his patients and the health-care profession.
Ryan Hegney ’23, Nursing
Throughout my life I always wanted to create change for the world, but when I looked at that vision in a smaller picture, I realized I could do that by being a nurse. By caring for others and my future patients, I am not only changing one world, but I have the opportunity to change multiple worlds—my patients’ worlds—each time I go into work.