A day in the life of a nursing major

Emelia Sherin

Students in the College of Nursing are beginning to feel the effects of real-world experience.

 “I couldn’t be happier to have ended up with nursing,” sophomore nursing major Jennifer Lachendro said.

The nursing program has over 400 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates every year, along with a 99.6 percent job placement rate within six months of graduation. The program is very competitive and only accepts students with high combined average GPAs.

“The anxiety about the amount of material that is required to know is immense and sometimes seems unbearable, but that’s what I signed up for,” Lachendro said.

Emma Valare, a senior public health major, is applying for the accelerated two-year nursing program after graduating this summer with a Bachelor of Public Health. The accelerated two-year program lets the student work toward a nursing degree if they have already completed general core classes.

Valare originally applied for the nursing program twice, but did not get in due to her GPA. The nursing program’s requirements are 30 hours of college-level coursework, including classes in progress, and a combination of their science and cumulative GPA.

“The nursing program has to meet a quota of students with the top GPA per semester,” Valare said. “There is no interview process, so those who have good resumes but poor GPA don’t stand a chance.”

Students are also required to complete eight to 12 hours of clinical rotations per week every semester until they graduate when accepted into the program. Clinical rotations are a hands-on practicum experience where students work in hospitals to obtain real patient interaction and apply what they learn.

Lachendro mentioned professors recommend them to take 14 credit hours during their first semester of clinical rotations in case they become overwhelmed with the additional coursework.

“I regularly question myself as to why I stuck with nursing … while driving to clinical in the snow at 5:45 a.m.,” senior nursing major David Hartsook said.

Hartsook has encountered many difficult situations during his clinical, especially when patients express their overwhelming emotions to the students, such as fear and sorrow.

“We learn therapeutic communication techniques, but nothing really prepares you for that situation aside from experiencing it and learning the best way to address these issues,” Hartsook said.

Although the real world of medicine may seem scary, the students are well prepared by their professors and mentors.

The coursework may be redundant, but “every nursing professor I’ve had is extremely passionate about the profession, and that makes all the difference in the world,” Lachendro said.

“There’s nothing they do that isn’t hard,” said Kim Cleveland, a lecturer in the College of Nursing.

Cleveland teaches an array of classes, such as health policy, healthcare law, nursing leadership and many more. She believes that students view life through a different lens with every lesson and patient interaction.

“I knew I wanted to be challenged each and every day, and I wanted my learning to be lifelong,” Lachendro said. “ … All of those reasons … have brought me to nursing,” Lachendro said.

Emelia Sherin is the science reporter, contact her at [email protected].