I chose nursing because this field offers a wide variety of career opportunities. A degree in nursing allows one to teach, conduct research, or perform direct patient care. I could elect to become an administrator, work in community or home health, and even travel worldwide. With the national shortage of nurses, work schedules are flexible, pay is competitive, and openings are numerous. Jobs are waiting for me the day after graduation anywhere in the world, and I will have a profession without additional training.
What are your classes like?
I am enrolled in the four-year Bachelor of Science program at Hampton University. The first year is the general framework of courses that develop communication and cultural civil skills. These classes include English, history, humanities, and sociology. The second year is dedicated to building a foundation in psychology and science. This will help me, as a nurse, to view a person in a holistic manner—body, mind, and soul. The majority of third and fourth years are spent in clinical settings that allow hands-on patient care experience. Medical/surgical, pediatrics, maternity, community health, and psychiatric nursing are core areas of clinical experience.
What are your career goals?
I love to teach, and I think I can be good at it. I also want to write great proposals so I can put some of my ideas for care in the community to work. I love children, so I would like to spend some time in a pediatric unit. I think it is good for me to have many goals right now because I have time to pursue all of them. I recognize the need to get an advanced degree, so I plan to work as an RN while getting the M.S. degree and then pursue the Ph.D. full time. That will help in determining which of the many career directions to take.
What activities are you involved in?
I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where I participate in Ivy Academy—a reading program for elementary school students. I tutor in an evening program at my church, and I am also involved in HU PREPP—a structured mentoring program for lower level nursing and pre-college students.
What advice would you give students considering going into your field?
The one piece of advice that I would give to anyone interested in nursing is to “love what you do.” The doctors focus on healing. EMT focus on lifesaving. But nurses focus on the total health of the patient. My job as a nurse is to be a non-judgmental advocate for my patient—physically, emotionally, and culturally. I have seen nurses who would rather be anywhere but at work…and you can tell. It is hard for a patient to concentrate on healing when their nurse does not want to be bothered. On the other hand, I have seen nurses that love what they do. They have taken helpless, hopeless patients on journeys to recovery. Imagine the reward!