By Karon Parrish
Becoming a nurse seemed like an easy decision when beginning their nursing education, but three current UAM senior nursing students now say they are exhausted and ready for that first job.
“Just knowing that I have to finish keeps me going. It takes a great deal of work and time to graduate and I am ready,” states Olivia Ladd, a Hamburg native.
Yuritzy Corcolis, from Lake Village, is also ready to graduate. “I am really tired but I know that the end of school is near," she says. "I would like to obtain my master’s or some other specialty in nursing, but right now I just want to graduate.”
Crystal Fields, from Crossett, has been attending school the longest of the three and she states, “I know I have to finish, it’s only a few weeks away.”
When these students were juniors, they began their first year of clinicals, which they all found very exhausting and very intense. The second year of clinicals was hard but not as overwhelming as the first year.
Nursing students must drive to area hospitals to work during their clinical rotations in order to gain hands on experience. Nursing students travel to Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Crossett, Warren, El Dorado or Greenville, Mississippi to complete their rotations.
They are expected to arrive in time to sign in for a shift beginning at 6:30 a.m. Nurses have to arrive early in order to review charts and process information given to them by the other shift. They are following orders and completing tasks assigned by the charge nurse in order to have the required experience to one day complete these tasks on their own.
Nursing education makes intellectual demands on the students. They must be serious students with proficiency in the health sciences. They also need to be in good health and have a genuine desire to help others regardless of how challenging the patient’s illness might be.
While the Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program is four academic years, some students have chosen to obtain their Licensed Practical Nursing degree from community colleges or hospital based programs. However, the need for BSNs is the most preferred by employers.
The job market for students looks very promising. All three students stated they have been offered jobs. Some hospitals are so desperate that they are willing to provide transportation, reimbursement for relocation expenses, incentive packages for contract signing such as tuition reimbursement, extra vacation days, and more.
According to the Arkansas Labor Market Information Unit doctors and nurses have been in great demand to fill jobs but in the last five years, nurses have continued to be in demand whereas the demand for doctors has declined.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses will grow faster than any other occupation through 2012.
There are a great many specialized jobs that nursing students can fill as well. Nurses can specialize in surgery, intensive care, neonatal, neurological, obstetric/gynecological nursing and other advanced clinical specialties. They also have opportunities to work in health-related fields such as nurse recruiting, hospital administration or teaching.
The need is great and the opportunities are limitless for those who want to combine the art of caring with the science of health care.back to top
HEALTH SERVICES AVAILABLE TO ALL STUDENTS By Jessica Goodwin and Karon Parrish
As you head out of class toward your dorm room, you aren’t sure if you can walk another step with a pounding headache and raw, scratchy throat. Mama is more than 150 miles away and you aren’t sure what is wrong or who to ask. Don’t worry, Terri Richardson, R.N., the school nurse, can help get you back on your feet.
UAM students were asked to complete a health information form when they registered. This information is kept on record by Richardson. Her services are free to students and available from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the John F. Gibson University Center located just inside the Exercise Center Suite on the lower level. Students may also contact Richardson by calling 1051 on campus.
Services include emergency first aid, health screenings such as blood pressure and blood sugar readings; pregnancy tests; and general assessment for over-the-counter medications for minor illnesses. She can also assess minor illnesses such as allergies, cold sores, coughs, headaches, poison oak/ivy, menstrual cramps, upset stomachs, etc.
Richardson can also give specific care prescribed by physicians such as allergy injections, hormone injections, dressing changes, or wound care. She can assist with minor injuries and help you with the health care system through appropriate referrals. Other services are health education, counseling, and evaluations.
The most common complaint students seek health services for are “cold/allergy symptoms, hypertension, stomach viruses, flu symptoms, and accident/injuries,” according to Richardson. She also pointed out that in the case of an emergency, students are to dial 1000 when on campus and the appropriate personnel will respond.
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