A student, faculty member and admissions team answer the most asked questions for prospective students
What made you want to be a nurse instead of a doctor?
Student: Being a nurse provides so much more hands-on care with patients than doctors receive. You are the staff with the patients 24/7. The doctors see a patient for maybe 5 minutes every day. Also, medical school is A LOT longer than nursing school and more expensive. In high school, many of my teachers pushed me to go to medical school, but I knew that I could advance my career more with nursing. For example, you can choose so many different specialties in nursing (labor and delivery, orthopedics, surgery, etc), and can advance to other careers (nurse manager/leader, nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, etc).
Faculty: I never wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a nurse when I was 16 because I spent the better part of my 16th year of life in a hospital and I had an amazing nurse who impacted my life greatly by spending so much of her time with me while I was in the ICU and so far away from my family. She truly made me feel less scared and lonely by the simple act of being there with me, talking to me, sitting next to me and rubbing my back. I wanted to have that pay that forward in my life to others and truly connect with people when they needed me most.
What is the greatest skill of nursing?
Student: This is a loaded question because you can take it in so many different ways. A fun physical skill that every nurse likes to do is starting IVs. A good cognitive skill is that we know SO MUCH information about the human body and diseases that family members will be asking you for medical advice. A good psychosocial skill is that we are the most trusted profession and patients know we will do our best to care for them and be their advocate.
Faculty: Being present in every interaction with every person you work with. You have many patients at one time in most cases, but in the patient’s life, you are their only nurse and they deserve to feel like they are your priority.
How do I know if nursing is the right profession for me?
Student: I would try to take advantage of any high school opportunities that you may have such as getting your CNA license and working as one, going to the Bellin College nursing camp, volunteer at a hospital or nursing home, etc., to see if healthcare is the right environment for you. Not everyone is equipped with seeing blood or bodily fluids or having patients’ lives in your hands.
Faculty: You have a strong interest and are good in the sciences. You can work under stressful situations and remain calm, clear, and level headed and you have the ability to keep others calm in similar situations. You are also a very caring person who can also display empathy toward others.
What further education would you need to become a doctor?
Admissions: You would need to obtain your bachelor’s degree (preferably in science, with a pre-med focus) and then go on to apply to medical school. Once accepted, you typically have 4 years of med school and then your residency which ranges depending on which area you are looking to work in.
What is the difference between working in a college vs. in a hospital? (working as an educator vs. in the hospital)?
Faculty: I don’t have as direct contact with patients as I used to unless I do clinical in the hospital with my students. Sometimes I do miss that part of my job. However, I love working with students every day. The workload and pace are very different and is difficult to compare since they aren’t the same in any way.
How does nursing differ from being a doctor?
Faculty: Nursing is more direct patient care for longer periods of time. It is very focused on caring and carrying out the plan of care throughout the day versus directing the care with orders.
Did you look up to anyone that may have inspired you to be a registered nurse?
Student: I had a cousin who was in nursing school and became a nurse before I embarked on the nursing school journey so I was asking her questions and listening to her work stories. But otherwise, my family has very few people in the medical field.
Faculty: See question #1.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Student: It is difficult knowing that many people don’t seek healthcare because of the cost and many people don’t know the basic things to care for themselves physically and mentally.
Faculty: The amount of work behind a computer. I’m very much a people person and don’t like to sit to do work online a lot. I would say the hardest part with students is when a struggling student doesn’t take advantage of the help I offer for their success.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Student: Getting all the information to click in my head that I learned from nursing school and actually using it in practice! I also love knowing that patients are going home with a piece of mind about their new diagnosis and how to better themselves.
Faculty: Seeing and hearing what I call “the aha” moments students have. It brings joy to me.
What do you find is the hardest part about being a nurse?
Student: It is hard to understand that you can’t learn everything in nursing school and there will be times (many times during the first few years of becoming a nurse) you feel like you have no idea what you are doing, which can be very scary. But know there are coworkers who are there to help you!
Faculty: The stress of the higher patient-to-nurse ratios and feeling like nursing is very task-focused and is losing the patient as the center of care.
How do you deal with someone who isn’t satisfied with your patient care?
Student: With anything, you cannot please everyone. With patients it gets tricky, but as long as you are providing safe, effective, and respectable patient care, there isn’t much more that you can do. If a patient does really not like your care, you can always consult with another coworker who may have a different approach.
Faculty: I listen to their side to better understand their dissatisfaction to see if there is somewhere I can personally improve and apologize that they feel they didn’t have the best experience they could and I will do what I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again or find resolve to what they are dissatisfied with.
What are some differences between registered nursing and nursing?
Admissions: RN stands for “Registered Nurse”. So, in order to be a registered nurse, you have to take your licensure exam. RN’s can either have their BSN or not — it is not required to practice nursing. It certainly helps, however, having your BSN as most employers prefer to hire nurses who are RN BSNs.
What was your biggest inspiration to do what you do?
Student: I’ve always wanted to help people and this is the best way to do it!
Faculty: I had always precepted (took them as a student nurse and was their guide through clinicals) students when I was working as a nurse and loved being able to share that passion with students. I wanted to share my knowledge and passion at a larger scale by becoming a nursing professor.
Did you ever want to be something other than a nurse? If so what made you want to become a nurse?
Student: I’ve wanted to become a nurse ever since middle school, but before that, I wanted to be a first-grade teacher and then I realized a bunch of 6-year-olds would drive me absolutely insane! Many of my other nursing peers have said that an illness or death in the family made them want to become a nurse.
Faculty: Yes. I originally wanted to be a kindergarten teacher
How do you handle the stress that comes with school and work?
Student: It’s all about balance. GET A PLANNER! You need to prioritize your studies and organize them around other activities and work. And don’t forget to take time for yourself and friends/family. Learning how to manage everything in nursing school is going to help you so much in the nursing world when you are managing many different patients.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a nurse?
Student: The most rewarding part is that you are making a positive difference in someone’s life. Many people dislike hospitals, but we are there for the patients physically, mentally and emotionally. We do what needs to be done for our patients no matter the circumstance. Sometimes we know what is better for our patients than doctors, and it is rewarding when we are right and helped a patient.
Faculty: Seeing the impact you can have in a person’s life at possibly one of the most difficult or joyous times of their lives.
Have you been dealing with patients with COVID-19? If so what is a typical day like?
Student: I work on an observation unit so we haven’t been taking care of positive COVID-19 patients, but there is always a chance that our patient could have it and just isn’t showing symptoms. So, we are taking many precautions within the hospital to limit spread. We are required to wear a mask and face shield at all times!
Why did you decide to teach?
Faculty: I love to share the passion of nursing with others.
Do you get personal interactions with the students? Do you help teach? What kinds of students do you get?
Admissions: All the time! That is my favorite part of my job — getting to know the student and the “why” for them. Why they chose Nursing, or Medical Imaging, or health sciences in general. I am a huge story person and love hearing how people got to where they are. I do not help teach, however, I do classroom presentations on health sciences and careers within healthcare and how Bellin College’s programs can lead students to a very rewarding and meaningful career. I see a wide variety of students coming from various backgrounds. It goes along with their story which, again, is my favorite part of my job.
What do you need to do to be successful in nursing?
Student: You need to be motivated and committed to lifelong learning. Just because you graduate college doesn’t mean you are done learning. You always need to stay current with health trends and procedures and knowledge. You need to be organized in finding a rhythm and patient routines but also flexible because things do change. You need to be caring, respectful, and honest in everything that you do inside and outside your work environment.
Faculty: Study hard while in school, advocate for yourself and your learning needs, take advantage of any help you have while in school. Take care of yourself. You can’t care for others if you don’t first care for yourself. Work as a team. The best healthcare isn’t provided by just one person.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Faculty: Seeing my students succeed in becoming a nurse and seeing their eyes light up when they start to connect the dots with what they are learning and what they are doing.
What are the best aspects of registered nursing that cannot be found in other careers?
Student: More patient interaction than doctors. Also, you will have more opportunities for growth and changing specialties within the field. You will be a part of the greatest medical workforce and the most trusted profession. You will get discounts and offers when a global pandemic is in place.
Faculty: The ever-changing world of healthcare that requires you to practice lifelong learning. The fact that each day is very different, and you never know what you will deal with and who you will work with or whose life you will impact.