It was through Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy or MDMA that Luke Gaskins discovered his passion for healthcare — but not in the way you might think. During his sophomore year of high school, a documentary about the effects of MDMA on the brain sparked an interest that would guide Luke to a successful career.
"I was captivated by the impact that chemistry could have on the human brain and, by extension, people's lives,” Luke shared. “From there, I set my sights on working in medicine, specifically pharmaceuticals, to learn more about how medicine can influence and improve the well-being of individuals on a micro and macro scale."
Like many students, his interests were impacted by experience. He eventually shifted toward nursing as the area of study that could best complement his passion for serving and saving others. One of Luke’s earliest professional experiences with nursing was also one of the most transformative. After shadowing in a nursing home, Luke knew that he had found the right path for himself.
"I had no expectations going in, but I was amazed by the nurse's empathy and expertise in caring for patients,” he recalled. “I knew this was something I wanted to do.”
With this newfound clarity, Luke embarked on his journey into the nursing profession. He originally attended a community college but found the long nursing waitlist frustrating. Luckily, Herzing University offered an almost immediate start, albeit with a more intense, fast-paced curriculum.
“The self-study aspect was challenging, and it required a high degree of independence,” Luke shared. “But ultimately it made me stronger and prepared me better. This experience taught me to be proactive and take responsibility for my education, a skill that has been valuable both professionally and personally.”
The education Luke earned in the classroom combined with the soft skills he acquired along the way positioned Luke for a successful career post-graduation. After earning multiple nursing degrees, Luke continued working in different nursing positions. Each experience offered him a closer look and deeper insight into the state of healthcare today, including its evolving complexities, the number of people responsible for contributing to high-quality care and all the aspects of nursing beyond traditional bedside care.
Luke’s deep understanding and palpable passion enable him to identify opportunities for growth on a larger scale, benefitting communities in his local Ohio area and beyond. The current state of the healthcare shortage is something he’s particularly passionate about.
As he grew to better understand the challenges of both nurses and the overall healthcare facilities where they work, Luke founded Proxy Healthcare to help streamline staffing processes, reduce costs, and enhance patient care.
“Proxy Healthcare is dedicated to bridging the gap between nurses and hospitals," Luke explained. "Hospitals are losing more than nurses, they are losing experienced caregivers. These are the people who have seen it all. They are resilient and can adapt to almost every situation, yet they are leaving. Their value goes beyond what's written on a balance sheet and we need to address this talent drain before it hits a tipping point.”
Navigating the healthcare landscape during a critical healthcare shortage is no small feat. Luke attributes some of his most impactful strengths to the experiences he had while at Herzing.
"Herzing taught me that there's no room for hesitation when it comes to implementation," Luke emphasized. "You have to step out of your comfort zone, roll up your sleeves, and get the job done. It was a pivotal lesson in leadership, reminding me that the idea of failure is just an opportunity to learn and grow."
Luke’s story illustrates the importance of effective leadership and having an overarching, strategic perspective on the future direction of healthcare. His unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between nurses and hospitals and his impassioned advocacy for the nursing profession, exemplify what all healthcare workers should strive for.
"In the realm of healthcare, you can't afford to be paralyzed by the fear of failure," Luke said. "If you do fail, it's an opportunity to learn and adapt. This approach has been a guiding principle for me throughout my career. Leaders need to embrace challenges and pave the way for innovation."