By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing

Michael Smith

SPOKANE, Wash. – A Washington State University nursing student in Spokane got a glimpse of his future recently.

Michael Smith had been getting clinical experience each week at City Gate, a shelter and ministry serving homeless and low-income clients.

On that day, “We had a little table set up, and we were doing blood pressure screenings and such,” Smith recalled.

He tested one man, whose blood sugar was in the 500s, well over the normal range of 80 to 130, and whose blood pressure was about 200/170 – again, well over the guideline of 120/80.

“This was way overboard, dangerous,” Smith said. “I thought, ‘We need to do something about this, we can’t just let him leave.’”

So Smith notified Pastor John Murinko, of City Gate.

Murinko took the man to a CHAS Health clinic, which in turn sent him to a hospital emergency room. The man was admitted and spent four days in the hospital.

The man, and City Gate, “attribute the patient still being here to Michael and the quality of student he was,” said Laura Wintersteen-Arleth, a senior instructor at the College of Nursing and City Gate board member. WSU nursing students work in clinics statewide as part of their education, gaining professional experience under the guidance of faculty.

Smith, who graduated May 4, is hoping to work in pediatrics in the future. The episode solidified his love of nursing, he said: “In nursing you have the opportunity to change lives.”


  • Addy Hatch, communication director, WSU College of Nursing, 509-324-7340,