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'I'll be the nurse who ...'

December 15, 2015

Cassandra Smith and dreams

Nursing student Cassandra Smith helped put together the "I'll be the nurse who ..." project, in which students outlined their career hopes and dreams. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SCHOOL OF NURSING

Students in the School of Nursing had a unique opportunity to look into their own futures -- and the future of the nursing profession -- in recent weeks in a project loosely called "the 'I'll be the nurse who …' wall."

The students behind the project hung up a giant white paper, four feet tall by 10 feet wide, that gave the nursing students a place to write their career goals, dream and aspirations. The project was set up on the first floor of the nursing school and had space for between 30 and 40 responses.

Virtually all of the spaces were filled, said Cassandra Smith, a senior nursing student and the co-president of the school’s President's Council, who helped oversee the effort.

"The reasoning behind the wall was to get student nurses to start thinking about the bigger picture of being a nurse," Smith said. "We wanted to provoke students' thought processes and get them to envision what they want to do in their careers."

Here's a sampling of student responses, each starting "I’ll be the nurse who ...":

  • Never stops striving for better outcomes
  • Never stops believing
  • Always keeps an open mind
  • Sees the good in every situation
  • Remembers family members' names
  • Cares compassionately and listens wholeheartedly
  • Continuously advocates for my patients and involves their family as much as possible
  • Makes a child smile
  • Celebrates my patients' triumphs and is their support in their trials
  • Cares for my patients as if they were my family
  • Sees the good in every situation

"Nursing is a unique career because you see people at their lowest points," Smith said. "And you have the privilege of having a great impact on their life. Part of the beauty of entering nursing is that you can help patients in a variety of ways."

Smith noted that the responses illustrate the things that a nurse values in patient care.

"Some wrote that they want to provide spiritual support to patients, while others shared their dedication to research in health care," she said.

The wall is scheduled to remain in place through the end of the semester. The feedback from nursing students has been positive, and the wall organizers are exploring ways to allow students to share their opinions and thoughts in future projects.

The project was funded by a student organization grant sponsored by the Division of Student Life to the President's Council in the School of Nursing. The council includes officers from all the classes in the school.

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