"I want students to learn about various mental health disorders and how they affect individual clients. My goal is to have them enjoy their psychiatric nursing clinical rotation and apply what they learn in theory to the clinical rotation."
Nursing experience: I have been a practicing registered nurse since 2003. My background includes oncology, medical-surgical, and mental health nursing. I have been an academic educator since 2015 and love working with students in both clinical areas and classroom settings.
What do you want students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?
I want students to learn about various mental health disorders and how they affect individual clients. My goal is to have them enjoy their psychiatric nursing clinical rotation and apply what they learn in theory to the clinical rotation. I want them to take away the foundation of mental health nursing and realize that it is going to be used in every area of nursing practice.
What is the value of a BSN?
The value of a BSN is to help prepare you to expand the professional role, which is important with the increased acuity of patients and complexity of patient care. As nurses, we need to be lifelong learners and make an effort to learn something new every day to maintain competency and increase our critical thinking skills. This increases as education is expanded with, for example, the BSN. The BSN is valued and needed today for professional role advancement such as leadership positions.
Why did you start teaching?
I spent most of my 15 years of direct nursing practice caring for patients as a staff nurse. I loved being a staff nurse, and I love working with students in the clinical area. I chose nursing education because I wanted to give back to nursing and help the next generation of nurses grow and become professional registered nurses.
What advice would you give to nurses considering the online RN to BSN track?
I recommend that they consider the balance between family, work, and school, ensuring that it is the right time in life to go back to school because it is a commitment, but worth it. I also recommend taking an online prerequisite class to ensure they can work autonomously, adapt to the virtual classroom setting, and accommodate for technical issues. Keep time management in mind and consider using a scheduled, up-to-date planner. Think about self-motivation and following the new educational trends. Always be flexible and open to change, but most importantly, stay positive and know with practice and hard work, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Why are you interested in nursing? What drew you to this field?
I knew I wanted to be a registered nurse at a very young age. I wanted to go into a respected profession and care for others. I knew that if I studied hard and never gave up, I would accomplish my goal, and I did. What drew me to nursing was personal. My mother had breast cancer, and I would visit her and spend a lot of time at the hospital. I admired how the nurses cared for my mom and held her hand. I told myself I wanted to be just like them, and met a nursing instructor who brought students on their rotation. I was then hooked on nursing. I wanted nothing else except to be a registered nurse. There was no other option for me except to achieve my goals.
What qualities make someone particularly successful in nursing?
I think the qualities that make someone successful in nursing include being professional, caring, respectful to others, therapeutic communication skills, empathy toward others, flexibility, critical thinking skills, patience, and remembering to be a lifelong learner. Nurses need to find personal satisfaction from the beginning of their nursing career. I believe that, as they go through the clinical rotations, it is important to find the specialty that grabs their heart. Nursing is very diverse and the opportunities are limitless. We are privileged to have the opportunity to care for others and be that one nurse who will help them through the hard times of being a patient. Most importantly, nurses need to find the time and balance by providing self-care to themselves; thereby preventing burn out.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that nurses face today?
I think the biggest challenge we face today is short-staffing, which becomes a professional and personal concern for nurses today. I believe that staffing levels, unit organization, and/or inequitable assignments are just a few reasons why nurses leave organizations. I know our NSC graduates will help combat this challenge and shortage, creating a huge impact on the future of nursing.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
“The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital” by Alexandra Robbins
Tell us something your students may not know about you:
I love Disney World and Disneyland. My favorite character is Donald Duck. I love animals. I have two cats, one Dalmatian, and one bird. I have had my cosmetology license since age 17 and practiced in New York up until I graduated from nursing school.
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