Tag Archives: nursing

The Calling to Heal as a Pirate Nurse

By: Erin Traister, Honors College Senior

Honors College BlogMy six-hour trek across the state for my final semester at college consisted of the usual road-trip adventures: digging in seat crevices for vending machine change, adjusting my cruise control, and jamming out to Ed Sheeran and my boys 1D. As I had many minutes (slash hours) of quiet reflection available, I took advantage of my time to romanticize my last few college months: attending various spring sporting events, watching movies with friends, bubbling in the final answer of my last Scantron, and finally walking across the graduation stage (insert epic fist pump). Why did I still feel the pit of doom in my stomach, then? Could it be that I had two tests the first day of school? Why, yes I suppose it could. #NursingSchool. Welcome back, Erin.

There is a reason why people respond by cringing when I introduce myself and state my major at various student events across campus. The rumors are true that nursing school is extremely challenging. Okay, I don’t even think it’s a rumor anymore – definitely a well-known fact. For my peers who have the privilege of hearing some friends complain about 8 AM lectures…we robotically smile, unsympathetic because our 6:30 AM clinicals require our 4:30 AM awakening with an hour commute. When every single multiple choice option is right, you must use your best judgement to pick the best answer or priority intervention. But don’t lose heart, your twelve hours in clinical so far have surely given you the deduction skills of your nursing professors who have thirty years of professional practice. So in all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the impossible tests, demanding schedule, and stricter grading policy (that’s right: 95-100 = A; 100% tests; test review = after the test) when I first started nursing school.

So why did I stick with it? I was sent to heal.

The past year and several months have given me the most impactful personal and professional experience of my lifetime. I have been in the room when a baby takes his first breath and where an older man has taken his last. I have seen with my eyes and felt with my heart the enormous victories and defeats of the human body, mind, and spirit. There have been some days where hope is hard to see – where I looked into the eyes of a terminal cancer patient being discharged from in-patient hospice to die at home. Every human body will inevitably break down. But that doesn’t mean we stop putting it back together. As nurses, we have a unique opportunity to participate in this restoration process, whether it is educating a patient about medications after experiencing a heart attack or witnessing the hopeful tears of men and women as they gain victories over their battles with substance abuse.

While I too often inwardly (or outwardly: sorry, friends) complain of the demands of what feels like a full-time hospital and student position, I am truly honored to enter this lifelong profession. The ECU College of Nursing has set high standards and has offered opportunities that have transformed the way I approach learning and interact with the healthy and the sick in our community. So for all my fellow future health care professionals, here’s to a difficult but beautiful journey ahead that constantly reminds us of what matters most in life.

The Full College Experience: ECU Honors and Nursing

By: Meghan Boop, EC Scholar and Honors College Senior

nursing frandsAs a 20-something-year-old in this day and age, a number one conversation starter is inevitably “What is your major?” Some people are still in the process of figuring this question out, others have switched multiple times in the course of their four years of undergraduate, and some of us are able to answer this question confidently from the beginning.

I knew I wanted to be a nursing major since my senior year of high school, so I applied to ECU with hopes of getting to fulfill my career path at this top nursing program. Being a part of the ECU nursing school is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding adventures on which I have embarked. The schedule is nothing like that of any other undergraduate major. You spend the normal 16 or so hours in class a week, on top of anywhere from 6 to 16 clinical hours per week. You get to rotate through all types of interesting clinical sites, from psychiatric wards to pediatric emergency departments. You get to learn in-depth skills such as intravenous administration and nasogastric tube insertion. Being a nursing major is certainly not easy, but it is the best choice I have ever made.

However, I don’t like to be defined by just my major, and that is one of the many reasons why I absolutely love EC Scholars and the Honors College. EC Scholars and the Honors College have offered so many diverse opportunities for its undergraduate students. Apart from the typical prerequisites for nursing school, I got to take part in leadership colloquiums, Holocaust seminars, research opportunities, and cultural courses offered by the Honors College. When people ask what I do at East Carolina, I am able to mention many unique experiences that other nursing majors have never gotten to be a part of. I also get to transcend the College of Nursing bubble. At the College of Nursing, students hangout with the same people 5 days a week on an isolated campus, so the EC Scholar program allows me to still keep in touch with the main campus of ECU and my friends in the program that have different majors.

In the end, I think everyone in college feels like they are defined by their decisions; their decision on their university, their decision on their major, their decision to join a student organization, etc. All I can say is I couldn’t be happier with my decisions to be a part of the EC Scholar family and the College of Nursing.

The Right Decision

Becoming an Honors student at ECU is sincerely the best decision I have made in my life thus far. I literally wake up every morning knowing that I made the right decision, and that is a great feeling to wake up to! When deciding on colleges, I was stuck in between UNC-Chapel Hill and the Honors College at ECU. Being from Chapel Hill, it was a really hard choice to make: do I want to stay closer to my family who I am really close to and go to a great school, or do I want to move away, accept a four-year scholarship and have a shot at going to the best nursing school in the state? There was a lot of pressure from almost everyone I met to go to UNC. It has long been regarded as the top public university in the state of North Carolina and it is known for an outstanding quality of education. ECU was offering me unbelievable opportunities at the same time and when I came to ECU for the Honors College Preview Day, I left with no doubts—ECU was the place for me.

Being an Honors student at ECU means so many unique things. It means having tuition paid for a full four years, and who couldn’t use that help? College is crazy expensive. It means living in Garrett Hall–the best dorm on campus because it’s close to the gym, library, academic buildings, and most importantly of course, the dining hall! I describe the Honors College in this way to everyone who asks me about college: it’s like a sorority without all the bad stuff. We get to know each other really well because we live together and participate in service projects as well as other events that are just for fun, and have grown to know each other so well in these short two and a half months we have been here. It’s like living with a bunch of brothers and sisters I have already laughed with, cried with, taken care of, and given advice to. It’s an amazing bond I trust will last forever.

The thing that stands out most about being an Honors Student at ECU is the personalized education. I have classes with only 10 other students in them because I get to take honors classes as an Honors Student. I get to take a class all about leadership and service. I stand out to all of my professors because they see how hard I work as an Honors student. I get to check books out for a whole semester and I get to run over to the Mamie Jenkins building at 9:45 and print out a paper for the next day for free. I can email any one of the faculty members of the Honors College and know I will be sitting in their office the next day working out whatever issue I have. I’m not a number; I’m a student that will succeed because I am surrounded by support.

I know that many high school seniors will be in the same boat I was in less than a year ago. Don’t be scared! Don’t be scared to move away and become more independent. I see my family all the time, but now I have my own life at ECU as well. Don’t be scared to do what people least expect when it comes to choosing colleges. Don’t be scared to be proud of your choice. Most of all don’t be scared to listen to you. Be brave, be daring. You will receive an outstanding and challenging education here at ECU and in the Honors College—I know I am. GO PIRATES!!