Rasmussen Nursing Graduate Finds Her Love and Passion in the NICU
Sara Vaught knew she wanted to become a nurse from a very early age. She didn’t have the easiest home life. When she was an infant, her mother and biological father divorced. Her mother worked more than 60 hours a week as a nurse to keep Sara’s childhood home and put food on the table. Sara says her mother always put Sara and her sister first.
When Sara was two years old, her mother met a wonderful man who soon became her dad. He helped raise Sara and made her who she is today. In 2008, when Sara was 13, her dad was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer and passed away six months later.
“My mother showed me what strength is and continued to put my needs before hers,” says Sara. “That is why I wanted to become a nurse, so I could do for others what my mom did for me and many of her patients: put others before myself and have a positive impact on their life.”
When Sara was looking for nursing schools to attend, she wanted a college environment that fostered development of her professional nursing skills. She didn’t choose Rasmussen College simply to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She chose Rasmussen to gain confidence, professional skills and friendships that would last a lifetime, and, Sara says, she got just that and much more.
“I chose Rasmussen College because of the accelerated format that offered online, in-person, and onsite learning opportunities,” she says.
Sara’s last quarter of nursing school became even more stressful and uncertain due to COVID-19. Her clinicals moved online, and she was certain Rasmussen, an expert in online learning, would make the transition seamless, but she was still nervous.
When she realized one of her favorite instructors was her virtual clinical instructor, her nerves lifted, and she was delighted. Sara spent 10 hours every Friday that semester with this instructor who made her learning experience enjoyable and fun.
“I never would have thought I’d have fun sitting at a computer screen,” says Sara. “My instructor made learning enjoyable and brought light into a very crazy time. He knew our potential and challenged us in a way that gave me confidence that’s needed as I begin working as a registered nurse.”
Pediatric care and OB were Sara’s best performing subjects in nursing school. She had never heard of NICU nursing until she was assigned to that unit during one of her clinical rotations. She completed a single 12-hour shift in the NICU, but felt like she was there for years and fit right in. She discovered her love for caring for children.
“I felt so comfortable and extremely curious about the care that was given,” she says. “That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a NICU nurse.”
Soon after graduation, Sara accepted a position as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital through their Pediatric RN Residency Program.
Sara says, every day, she is doing what she loves: caring for pre-term and sick infants, and is grateful for her Rasmussen experience.