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Soccer Star Morgan Smocovich to Begin Nursing Career in Medical Surgical Unit

Morgan Smocovich
Morgan Smocovich

When Morgan Smocovich arrived at UA Little Rock in 2017, she was an active student who liked to volunteer through the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps and and a successful member of the soccer team, but she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.

“I really enjoy helping people, and I’m a very much a people person,” she said. “It all goes together. Honestly, I remember one day sitting in my English class talking with my friends and deciding that I wanted to be a nurse.”

Smocovich, a senior nursing major from Frisco, Texas, is graduating this month with an associate degree in nursing and a minor in business administration. She will be moving to Mississippi to work in a medical surgical unit at a hospital.

“I want to work in the NICU eventually, but the hospital decided it’s best for me to practice my skills and get oriented on a med surgical unit first,” she said. “I am very excited. I love to help people in general, and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Smocovich started off at UA Little Rock as a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps during her freshman and sophomore years, where she volunteered for Our House and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I really liked being in CLC,” Smocovich said. “I think it’s a good way to get people to meet other people outside your own group. For me, it was the athletic clique. It really helped you get your first-year experience and offered you a group of people you could go to if you needed help.”

In the School of Nursing, Smocovich said her most memorable experiences came through exercises in the UA Little Rock Center for Simulation Innovation, which offers simulation-based clinical learning experiences.

“I remember all of my simulation lab experiences. Even though you are working on simulation machines, you still go into those experiences with all of the fear in your body and your anxiety,” she said. “Your instructors are watching you and you feel like you are in a real hospital setting. They are great learning experiences. They offer room for us to make mistakes, and our instructors will correct us and show us how to do it the right way. I feel like there are some mistakes I will never make again because my instructor was there to walk me through it.”

As a nursing student during the pandemic, Smocovich was also able to assist at community health clinics.

“I volunteered at Health Services, and I was screening people and helping them figure out how to administer their COVID tests,” she said. “I enjoyed being a part of that, and I was glad the university was able to provide the school’s students and employees and members of the community a way to get tested.”

Smocovich also spent the past four years as a student-athlete and is wrapping up her collegiate soccer career. She was named a Second Team All-Sun Belt honoree for the 2020-21 season. She also finished her senior season by writing her name in the Little Rock record books, ranking third in program history for career assists with 15 total.

“I’ve enjoyed being on the soccer team and I love my teammates,” Smocovich said. “Although soccer presented a challenge doing nursing at the same time, it gave me a release. I could go on the game field and the practice field and not worry about my IV insertion skills or stuff like that. I’ve always grown up doing it. It’s fun. I love getting to travel with my teammates. You are with each other 24/7 and it’s been very impactful.”

After her graduation, Smocovich plans to take her NCLEX exam this summer before moving to Mississippi, where she will join her fiancée, Chase Coker. Smocovich and Coker, a former member of the Trojan baseball team, met as student-athletes at UA Little Rock. The two will marry in summer 2022.