Nursing Students Commit Toward Careers
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She rolled over and glared at the whining phone alarm. Any wake up time with a four at the beginning of it is torture, but she hit the screen and got out of bed to drag her scrubs on and go to clinicals.
Junior Kilee Halbert is one of many examples of nursing students who hit the road well before the sun rises and the chickens wake up. She will not get home until 3 p.m., but Halbert happens to be a West Texas A&M softball player and one of the most dominant pitchers in the country. She will go straight to practice when everybody else goes home to take a nap.
“To me, the toughest part is staying ahead,” Halbert said. “There is a lot of information thrown at you, and it can be overwhelming if you let it take over. I stay on top of everything by sitting down each week and planning what I need to do. I use a planner, a white board in my room and reminders on my phone to get everything done I need to do.”
Clinicals are just one way that the top-notch WT nursing program grooms their students to be professionals after graduation.
“My favorite part of clinicals is getting to be with patients and change their experience in the hospital,” Halbert said. “Everyone gets so busy that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with personal care. I get to spend my day with my one patient and make sure they get everything they need. It is so rewarding to go in a patient’s room to say bye and hear them thank you for being so nice and taking care of them all day. That is a feeling I will never get tired of.”
Fellow junior Daniel Rackley has also had unique experiences in clinicals.
“A memory that sticks out to me was during my hospice rotation,” Rackley said. “A patient that I visited with was quite humorous and gave me some sound life advice. They told me that their secret to living a happy life is to always keep a sense of humor, laugh and keep an active relationship with God. This touched me deeply, and I am forever grateful for the conversations I shared with that person.”
Junior Ellen Torman says that being a part of WT’s nursing school has unique advantages.
“WT’s nursing program feels more like a family than a school,” Torman said. “It’s hard like any other nursing school, but the faculty are phenomenal and really care about your wellbeing.”
Halbert is not the only nursing student who is involved in extracurricular activities despite the extensive time commitment that nursing school requires. Torman is involved in the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, and Rackley is a part of Rogers LEAD WT, the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, WTNSA and Order of Omega.
“Time management skills are critical to a nursing student’s success,” Rackley said. “It is not possible, in my opinion, to take nursing school one day at a time. If I get extra time, I go ahead and do homework several weeks in advance just so I’ll have time to study for tests.”
These long hours help nursing students practice the dedication that being in the nursing field requires.
“I’ve wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember,” Torman said. “My mom was my main inspiration for being one. She has always worked hard to make her patients feel cared for while they are receiving medical care, and I want to do the same thing.”
Halbert agreed that nursing is about more than giving people proper medical attention.
“I decided I wanted to be a nurse because I want to be a difference in people’s lives,” Halbert said. “It can either make or break the experience for loved ones for how they were treated in the hospital. I want to be the nurse that takes care of everything they can so the only thing the patient and family have to worry about is getting better.”
The nursing students also said they feel that it takes a village to get a student through nursing school.
“Being that nursing school is so rigorous, I have relied heavily on friends, family and my girlfriend for emotional support and motivation to get me through my first year of nursing school,” Rackley said. “Without them, I’m not sure I would have the will to continue with it. I’d also like to credit my planner for keeping me on track and my responsibilities in line.”
Overall, the nursing students at WT said that in the end, every sleepless night, every study session on a bus ride to a softball game and every stressful last few minutes of studying before a test will be worth it after graduation.
“The amount of studying and time it takes to be on top of your stuff is tough, but I love being able to actually put my knowledge into play,” Torman said. “It’s super fun being able to learn new skills and use them to better someone else’s life.”