For some of our students, the decision to pursue a career in nursing was easy. Some come from a family of nurses or have wanted to be a nurse since they were a child. For others, it wasn’t until a life-changing event encouraged them to look into a career in healthcare. What they all have in common is the dedication, passion and compassion it takes to help others.
I recently sat down with a group of nursing students from the Rasmussen College Eagan campus. With this week being National Nurses Week – a time to celebrate our nurses and all they do – I asked the students about their decision to enroll in nursing school and where they hope their degree will take them. They also talked about the unique qualities it takes to be a nurse.
Why do you want to be a nurse?
“My mom is a nurse, so I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was a kid,” said Chandra Oscarson, Practical Nursing student at Rasmussen College. “Growing up, I wasn’t sure if I could handle working with blood, but then I observed an amputee patient at the group home where I worked receive a bandage change. I realized I would love working in wound care, so I enrolled in nursing school the next quarter.”
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I can remember,” said Shawn Hanna, Practical Nursing student at Rasmussen College. “After I graduate, I’d like to work with patients who suffer from a mental illness, whether it’s depression or something even more serious. I take care of a family member at home who suffers from a mental illness, so I understand how to work with these patients. I hope as a nurse I can prevent these patients from being teased or tossed to the side.”
“I didn’t always want to be a nurse,” said Amanda Gustafson, Practical Nursing student at Rasmussen College. “It wasn’t until I was laid off at work that I started researching careers in healthcare. I was really dissatisfied with what I was doing at the time. My sister-in-law is a nurse, so she’s the one who really got me interested in nursing school. When I graduate, I’d like to continue my education and become a registered nurse (RN), specifically a diabetic educator. I’ve been a diabetic for 17 years, so I feel like I’d have a lot to contribute.”
What’s one thing about nursing school that’s surprised you?
“I didn’t truly understand the role of a nurse until I looked more into it,” said Gustafson. “My initial draw was the pay, but then I entered my clinicals and began working with the patients. I didn’t realize how attached I would become.”
“People assume it’s [career in nursing] all about blood and guts,” said Hanna. “But then in nursing school you learn about all the different avenues you can work as a nurse such as labor and delivery, schools, clinics, hospitals, etc. There are so many options and, in many scenarios, you’re not around blood. Communities depend on nurses. Just think, when you call about a sick kid who do you talk to? Most of the time it’s a nurse.”
“I knew it [nursing school] would be a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it,” said Oscarson. “What gets you through is your fellow students who I often find myself relying on for support. We’ve become very close.”
What do prospective students need to know before enrolling in nursing school?
“Research, research, research and set your expectations for what you’d like out of a nursing school,” said Gustafson. “It’s very time consuming. You won’t be able to work full-time at the same time, so it is a sacrifice. Be prepared and have a flexible schedule.”
“Don’t do it just for the money,” said Hanna. “You won’t survive if you don’t have compassion and truly care about people.”
How have the faculty at Rasmussen College helped you succeed?
“We have some really dedicated instructors at Rasmussen College,” said Hanna. “The best part is they have real-world experience, so they’re able to share stories with us versus just reading about it in a textbook. They truly go above and beyond to keep us interested and learning.”
What is it about a career in nursing that interests you? Share by commenting below.