By: Noemi Rocha
As a kid, I would equate nursing school with a trade school. I always pictured the hospital beds and learning the necessary technical skills, but not much else. My Hope experience has been completely different than I imagined and incredibly worthwhile.
If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t know I wanted to be a nurse until my senior year of high school. I came to Hope believing I wanted to do nursing, but then there were days where I thought I had changed my mind. However, the approach and effort Hope takes to create wonderful and capable nursing students is what made me stay. I still remember sitting in Anatomy Lab and holding a human heart for the first time. I had this moment where I paused and was just amazed at the intrinsic design the human body has. Every part has an important function.
My first two years at Hope had a nursing focus, but I felt like any other student. I took prerequisite courses for the nursing program, but for the most part, I was taking a lot of different courses as well. I believe this time to explore different topics is imperative to shaping who you are and how you perform in a career. In my freshman year, I was part of the, Phelps Scholars Program, a living-learning community, that focuses on exploring different cultures and ideas and I loved it. This community gave me a greater understanding of cultural competency and as a nursing student, we’ve explored the concept of cultural competency in previous courses. Although the Phelps Scholars Program wasn’t centered on nursing at all, I still found a way to apply my learning to my future career.
I’m currently in my junior year and in my Psychiatric Mental Health Theory and Practicum Rotation. All of the nursing rotations are a half semester and include many different hospitals with different specialties. The group is about 7 – 8 students to one professor and the real-world learning truly begins. Each clinical will visit the hospital for 8 hours on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning. I’ve been able to gain both the necessary experience and confidence throughout this first clinical, which is necessary to be a good nurse. Recently, I had a moment where I truly realized that the patients we are working with are real. I knew that going in, but I don’t think I understood the gravity of what it actually meant. It’s an honor to be able to enter into their life for a moment and provide the best care we can.
My one piece of advice for a new nursing student – or any student looking to come to Hope – would be to continue learning. Nobody is ever completely knowledgeable on every topic. Trust me, the knowledge of how to be an effective nurse will come with time, but what you spend your time on outside of the classroom is also important. At Hope, I have the opportunity to attend lectures that a variety of groups & organizations offer, typically on topics that are flooding the media. The intent is never to choose a side, but to listen to different sides, understand new perspectives and continue to learn and question ideas. Never stop listening. It is how we understand people. When we can understand a person, we can provide care. Similarly, if a patient feels heard by the nurse, they are more willing to trust the nurse and become completely honest. A patient that is honest will receive better care than one who is not.
My perspective of what a nurse does has completely changed from how I used to think about it. Yes, it’s important to learn and know the technical side, but there is so much more than that. I have gained so much respect for nurses and I cannot wait to become one myself. The nursing program at Hope is challenging, but it equips students to jump into the field once they are finished with their four years. I will be ready and so will you.