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Current BSN Student Profiles

Sumi Kim

ABSN Student Profile Thumb: Sumi KimABSN Student Profile Thumb: Sumi KimWhat influenced your decision to go into nursing?

The biggest influence that guided me into the career of nursing was my mother. Although she was not a professionally trained nurse, she demonstrated all the characteristics of a caring nurse as she took care of my ill father 18 years ago—both in the hospital and at home. She was altruistic, compassionate and sensitive to his needs. I was too young to witness this myself however, I was inspired through stories of how my mother cared for him until his last day. Out of all the medical professions out there, I chose nursing because this profession allows me to care for an individual in their most vulnerable state and to gain trust and rapport over time. Nursing isn’t easy, but at the end of the day, I know I’ve made the right choice in getting my degree in this field. I am thrilled to get out into the clinical setting and learn the vast possibilities in such dynamic career! 

What kind of healthcare experience did you have prior to entering the program?  How did this experience help prepare you for nursing school?

Before entering the program, I worked as a Hospital Assistant for about 9 months at UW Medical Center in an intensive care unit. Due to the high acuity, it didn’t allow many hands on patient care, but what this unit and staff helped me develop is learning to work as a team and to prioritize my tasks in such high-intensity, fast-paced unit. I began to learn how to communicate professionally with the nursing staff, and being part of the camaraderie meant a lot in confirming my decision to pursue this degree. Just being present in this environment prepared me well for nursing school as I learned the flow and routines of daily hustle and bustle on a well-functioning unit.

On a practical level, I learned to care for critically ill patients. The fear of handling a fragile patient as we repositioned or bathed them was something I confronted before starting this program. Overall, being exposed to the daily routine of a nurse cleared many misconceptions of what this profession is about. I felt more confident and ready to gain all that the program had to offer.

What excites you most about your program?

More than anything, I was excited to just simply learn: to soak in everything from theory classes to learning skills to the clinical experience. When I think back, one of the biggest frustration as I worked in the ICU was that I wished I knew and understood what was going on with the patients. I was interested in learning these big acronyms, and diagnosis and how it  influences nursing care. Sitting in a 3 hour lecture full of dense pathophysiology and nursing interventions is overwhelming, but ultimately empowering!

Describe your most memorable experience from clinicals.

The most memorable experience that I’ve encountered during my clinicals is during the quarter I spent at Children’s Hospital on the SCCA Hematology/Oncology Unit. On the first day, I was paired with a staff nurse to take care of a teenage boy with Sickle Cell Anemia(SCA). This was my first time ever encountering someone with SCA , and I came into this experience anxious. Due to the pain, he was withdrawn and quiet. After two quarters of med/surg rotations where I was constantly on the go and performing my “nurse duties,” I felt completely out of place that I could not do much to help relieve his pain beyond his scheduled dose of narcotics. The simplest lesson I learned from this rotation was that no matter the diagnosis, kids will always be kids. That day, we played FIFA Soccer 12 on the Xbox for 3 hours and his spirit was uplifted. Play is a form of therapy in pediatrics and I saw it in action that day.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as a student at UW?

The most important thing that I’ve learned about myself is that the support and love of my family and friends are vital in helping me achieve my goals. Nursing school presented itself with numerous obstacles and triumphs, and without my family’s constant support, I would not be where I am today. The friendship I’ve found in the program kept me sane through the ups and downs, and kept me grounded as we all worked our hardest through this program. I know that these friendships will last even beyond the two years of my BSN education as we all start an exciting journey into nursing!

What kind of involvement do you have within the nursing community and outside the nursing community?

Within the nursing community, I was involved in the PONS mentorship program where I mentored a first year BSN student for a quarter. It was rewarding to share some tips and advice to ease the anxiety as my mentee entered the program. I am also actively involved in the School of Nursing Diversity Awareness Group (SON DAwG) in hosting our annual summer Nurse Camp for local high school students. Lastly, I mentor pre-nursing students as they plan and complete their pre-requisite courses to enter into the BSN program. During the winter when applications are due, I help them with their personal statements and resumes.

Outside of the nursing community, I am involved as a leader for the Asian American Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in mentoring and leading undergraduate students find a Christian community on campus. I’ve lived in the dorms all four years of my undergraduate career to help provide this community for the incoming freshmen. It’s been fun and rewarding! In addition, I am involved with Global Brigades, a non-profit organization, to plant our first UW chapter in starting an Environmental Brigade in Panama.

How is your UW education preparing to meet your professional goals?

The rigor in UW’s education has prepared me well to meet my professional goals. It has pushed and challenged me to go beyond what is required and I feel confident that what I have gained in this program will be a strong foundation that I will build upon as I continue my career in nursing. 

What are your plans for the future?  Do you plan to attend graduate school?

My immediate plan after graduation is to work and gain experience in critical care nursing. For most of my time in nursing school, I was torn between adult critical care nursing and pediatric critical care nursing. After much thought and processing, I have decided to begin as a new grad in adult practice. I have plans to go back to school for the UW doctorate programs but unsure which specialty I would choose. I am also very interested in public health. After few years of experience, I hope to spend some time abroad in rural communities.


Jason Ly, BA

BSN Student Profile Thumb: Jason LyBSN Student Profile Thumb: Jason LyWhat influenced your decision to go into nursing?

My first job in college was as a student assistant in the gift shop and espresso stands of a local hospital. At the time, I was a freshman at the UW and unsure of what degree I wanted to pursue academically. After navigating the travails of general, introductory classes, I found that I really enjoyed American Ethnic Studies and Public Health. I’ve always enjoyed looking at social determinants of health and ways to work with underserved communities. It wasn’t until my last year of being an undergrad that I realized I wanted more clinical experience as well. Through my aforementioned job at UWMC, I spoke with many of my regular customers, which were nurses and they encouraged me to become a certified nursing assistant to see if nursing was a good fit for me. It eventually led me to pursue a BSN degree at the UW.

What kind of healthcare experience did you have prior to entering the program?  How did this experience help prepare you for nursing school?

Prior to nursing school I worked as a patient care tech (PCT) in the acute care setting in a hospital for about three years. During this time, I was able to take my prerequisites for nursing school and learn basic nursing skills such as taking vital signs, helping patients with activities of daily living, and overall just being able to gain valuable experience working with patients, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. When I started clinical rotations during nursing school, I felt that my experiences as a tech gave me more confidence. The beginning of nursing school can be an intimidating process for some.

What excites you most about your program?

I am excited about the diverse clinical sites that our students are placed at throughout the Greater Seattle area. I’ve been able to gain a wealth of knowledge throughout my clinical rotations at the various sites, and it has been a wonderful experience to work with different patient demographics as well. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet many students within my cohort and I’m excited to take these newfound friendships with me beyond nursing school and continue to flourish personally and professionally together. 

Describe your most memorable experience from clinicals.

I have couple memorable experiences that stand out. The first experience was in my first quarter of the program where I got to help with a fecal microbiota transplantation during my med-surg rotation. It may sound bizarre, but the rationale behind the procedure is extraordinary. The second memorable experience was during my OB rotation where I was able to help my patient deliver her baby naturally after being in labor for several hours. It was truly an amazing moment for everyone involved.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as a student at UW?

I’ve learned to be resilient. Through perseverance and the support of my classmates, faculty, and family/friends, my goals have been achievable. I’ve also gained valuable networking skills, which I have added to my patient care repertoire. Furthermore, the UW program in particular places an emphasis on developing nurse leaders. Prior to my time at the UW, I purposely avoided anything that entailed being a leader. The education at the UW provided opportunities for me to step out of my comfort zone in a risk-free, supportive environment where I was able to gain a measure of self-confidence and transition gradually into leadership roles. As a result, I became a stronger advocate for myself, which also percolated into becoming a strong advocate for patients as well. 

What kind of involvement do you have within the nursing community and outside the nursing community?

I’m currently the President of a student organization for all undergraduate nursing students at the UW, which is called the Professional Organization of Nursing Students (PONS). PONS assists with planning orientation for new nursing students, fundraising for student programming and events, and it also hosts the annual UW Nursing Career Fair. I also was part of a program called UW Leaders, which is a mentorship program for freshman, sophomores, and transfer juniors. The program teaches facets of leadership and community service through weekly curriculum meetings. Outside of the nursing community, I volunteer my time with the Khmer community in the Seattle area and I assist in planning and participating in events that encourages Khmer youth and non-Khmer youth to learn about the Cambodian culture.

How is your UW education preparing to meet your professional goals?

Learning from world class faculty and their research during the didactic components of the program have allowed me to utilize cutting edge nursing research and evidenced-based practice throughout the nursing process. This has provided for a seamless transition from nursing student to registered nurse. Additionally, the knowledge I have of the UW community and its resources have allowed me to establish a better rapport with my patients and overall, lead to greater patient outcomes. 

What are your plans for the future?  Do you plan to attend graduate school? 

I plan to work in the acute care setting for a couple of years with the goal of transitioning to critical care. Travel nursing is something that I’ve always been interested in. I am also interested in pursuing a graduate degree in community health with an emphasis on emergency preparedness and disaster prevention. Eventually, I would like to combine the aforementioned and become an advanced practice nurse, either as a clinical nurse specialist or as a nurse practitioner working with underserved communities.


Jack Shephard


BSN Student Profile Thumb: Jack ShephardBSN Student Profile Thumb: Jack ShephardWhat influenced your decision to go into nursing?

Throughout my life, I have always felt the need to serve others.  At first, I started in the field of biology, believing that I would want to work in a lab on a project that would serve the world and keep my interest.  After working in biology a bit, alone—I discovered that I needed to work with people and to feel that service up-close and personal.  I knew that nursing was a good field and I began working on my prerequisites. Then I met a friend who told me about her experiences in nursing and I was even more excited about my chosen path.  I have not regretted a day since. 

What kind of healthcare experience did you have prior to entering the program?  How did this experience help prepare you for nursing school?

Before entering the nursing program, I got my certified nursing assistant(NA-C) license and was able to learn all the basic techniques for caring for someone.  This experience helped me with the basic skills of nursing and to understand what kinds of things I would be dealing with as a nurse.  I was able to figure out if I was going to have a huge problem with bodily fluids before I committed to a two-year program. 

What excites you most about your program?

The amount of potential for growth is what excites me most about this program.  I can see myself growing every week and it’s inspiring, not just for my future career prospects, but for me as a person.  I’m taking more responsibility and expecting more from myself than I ever have before and I find this truly empowering. 

Describe your most memorable experience from clinicals.

My most memorable experience from clinicals was treating an elderly man whose whole family was there to support him.  He didn’t speak much English, but when he did, it was always a thank you.  His family translated for him and were the primary learners on his case and they had a lot of questions.  I felt really good in being able to explain everything to them and to have their support in interacting with the patient.  They were incredibly appreciative and supportive of my role as a student.  I enjoyed being able to go above and beyond for this family—giving the patient a foot massage for his dry, cracking feet.  It was a great honor to get to serve this family and to share in their support of this family member. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as a student at UW?

The most important thing I’ve learned about myself as a student at UW is that I can do more than I ever expected myself to be able to do.  I don’t get everything right, but I try my best every time, and that fulfills that expectation of myself, and ends up delightfully surprising me with success. 

What kind of involvement do you have within the nursing community and outside the nursing community?

I am the Elsevier E-book Student Representative which allows me to address issues students have with their books, train them to use them to their fullest potential, and give feedback to the publisher, hopefully expanding that potential through student input.  I am a volunteer for the School of Nursing in foot-care clinics around the city, where we provide much needed foot care to the homeless and underserved.  I plan to take on more of an organizer role within this program next year.  Outside the nursing community I do fundraising for various charities such as Lambert House and the Lifelong AIDS Alliance. 

How is your UW education preparing to meet your professional goals?

Being here at UW is preparing me for graduate school by being a tough, but supportive program—asking me to know the things I should to be a god nurse.  Exposure to the various volunteer opportunities through UW is also helping me learn how programs outside the hospital work, which will help when working with the underserved.

What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to attend graduate school in the future? I plan to go to graduate school, hopefully here at UW, to earn a DNP, and practice in service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” (LGBT) community.


 

Erica Southern, BA


BSN Student Profile Thumb: Erica SouthernBSN Student Profile Thumb: Erica SouthernBriefly, tell us about your background leading to your current program of study?

I graduated from Princeton University in 2005 with a degree in sociology, not really knowing what I wanted to do with it.  After living in Tanzania for a year, I went through the process to become a child life specialist working for 2.5 years on a pediatric hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  In this job, I consistently worked closely with nurses and other medical staff, and envied the medical knowledge and the role that nurses played in the care of the patient and family.  This sparked my interest in nursing, and I soon started taking my prerequisite classes. I returned back to my hometown, Seattle, and began working on a second bachelor’s degree.

How did you know you were ready to take this next step toward your educational goal?

My last job was very enjoyable, but was becoming less challenging.  I knew that I wanted to remain in the field of pediatric health care, and the role of the nurse really seemed to fit my strengths.  After I began taking my prerequisites, I discovered my interests in subjects, such as chemistry and anatomy. These subjects never appealed to me in the past.  Once I started down the path to nursing, I quickly realized that there was no going back for me.  I'm extremely happy with my decision so far.

Why this program, and why specifically at UW?

I grew up in Seattle, and hadn't lived there for nine years.  I knew I wanted to be back in the Northwest for school.  When I applied, I was completely unaware of UW's strong reputation in nursing.  Since I like UW and I grew up in its backyard, I knew that I would be happy there.  I was originally hoping to do an accelerated bachelor's program, but learned about UW's ABSN option too late to apply.  In retrospect, I'm extremely glad that I didn't apply and didn't choose that path.  The BSN path moves at a comfortable pace and allows me to supplement my classroom education with other opportunities.  I spent the summer working at a medical clinic in Tanzania, which wouldn't be possible if I had done an accelerated program that went through the summer.

What excites you most about your program?

I'm surrounded by impressive peers.  I can tell it's a great program when I look at my fellow classmates, and I would be comfortable with them taking care of me when I need a nurse.  The instructors also have contagious enthusiasm.  Their confidence in me and their breadth of knowledge is encouraging.

What has pleasantly surprised you about your experience?

My nursing cohort has a great mix of people.  I was impressed by the diversity in age, sex, work and life experience, educational background, and life situation.  It provides for a rich learning experience, and a vast knowledge bank. 

How is your UW education preparing to meet your professional goals?

After completing one year of my BSN program, and already I feel competent in my nursing skills.  UW has provided me with a strong knowledge base and skill set, the ability to research the newest medical articles, a network of people to contact for information and support, the humility to ask for help when I need it, and the confidence to know that I will succeed as a nurse. 

Tell us about your experience with mentors.

All of my clinical instructors so far have been fantastic mentors.  My pediatric clinical instructor has been quite an inspiration.  She has vast experience in nursing, and seems to have a solution for every problem that you throw at her.  She was challenging in clinical, and expected your best work, but did this in a way that was encouraging and enriching.  I'm sure that she will continue to be a mentor for me as I attempt to follow in her footsteps as a pediatric nurse.