Why did you choose nursing as a career?
I chose nursing around my junior year of undergrad. I graduated in May with my health science degree, and while I was at undergrad, I started working as a CNA at the university hospital where I got to work very closely with a lot of the nurses and see what they do day in and day out. And that really fostered my love and appreciation and interest in the field of nursing.
Why did you choose Elmhurst for your ABSN?
I went to school in Missouri, but I decided I wanted to move back and be closer to family and friends. When I was looking at schools around here, Elmhurst really stood out. My enrollment advisor was so helpful with all the information, asking questions that she didn't know the answer to. I felt like she really cared and wanted me to succeed and do well in the program. And so that kind of made my choice easier.
I remember she said, we recommend you don't have a job because this is going to be a lot of work. And I respected that and thanked her for her honesty because it is a lot of work, but it's also worth it. And we're also doing it in 16 months.
What made Elmhurst different from other schools you considered?
Something that made Elmhurst really exciting to me was the residency program and the sim lab before going to clinicals. That hands-on experience prior to it being with a patient and getting to have a teacher, an instructor right there explaining every step of the way, really drew me towards Elmhurst. Because I thought that was going to be really helpful for me as someone who always did better in labs versus lecture classes. The hands-on experience is how I learn best, so I really valued that.
How would you describe your residency experience?
The residency experience, in total, has been amazing, from just getting to meet all of the distance ABSN students that you see on Zoom every week, to the faculty, to having someone there that can understand deeply what you're going through this program, versus just a friend or someone who's like, "you're doing great." Someone who's also in the thick of it with you. That's been a big bonding experience, but then just the actual hands-on and getting to touch and hold all the equipment and insert it or push a med through an IV. The hands-on learning experience has made me understand it better. That's my learning style, so I really appreciate that.
How has your hands-on learning deepened your understanding of nursing?
It has immensely deepened it. There was a lot of things where I could rattle off a list of the steps that I needed to do from the textbook or from a lecture, but actually having the hands-on experience and feeling when the NG tube is where it's supposed to be versus just being like, "oh, you go in however many centimeters." It has made everything just make so much more sense. And I feel like I've understood a lot of the smaller things too, of why things happen certain ways or why we need to do things certain ways.
Having the instructors right there, they can peek their head in or whenever they need to give us a little extra help, has been super beneficial. I think doing that right in the moment versus an hour later or something, has been really helpful to see and understand why maybe something wasn't the best choice and make that change right then and there.
What about nursing excites you the most?
I think just being able to have so many avenues and outlets of nursing is what excites me most. You can be a school nurse. You can work in the OR, the ER. You can change throughout your career. Not being stuck or pigeon-holed into one thing, that is really exciting to me. And just overall being able to help people and be there for them in their worst times, because usually when you interact with a nurse, you're either sick or injured or the loved one of someone who's sick or injured. So just being able to make that process even a little bit easier while also helping care for the patient.
Any last thoughts?
It's a lot of work, but you will succeed if you put in the time and effort. It's a great program. The instructors have all been amazing. I would recommend Elmhurst to anyone.