How She Did It: Audrey Ferguson
College attending:George Mason University
Location: Fairfax, Virginia
Why she wanted to enter the nursing field: When I started school I chose to study nursing because I wanted to help improve the lives of others. I realized that keeping the population healthy would help to bring about the sort of positive changes that I want to see in the world.
How she paid for it: I earned an academic scholarship to pay my tuition. In order to pay for housing and food, I worked as a resident assistant and in a few other jobs part time. I have also had the support of my family throughout my time in school.
What portion of her coursework was online or through online nursing programs: Prior to starting in the nursing program, I took my anatomy and physiology class online. In nursing school, I have done two pre-lab courses online and used the online Blackboard Learning System with all of my classes.
What was the benefit of the online classes: In anatomy and physiology class, the online section had in-depth videos about each body system, with an interactive dissection. This helped me to better understand how each individual body system functioned, and then how they all work together. In my online pre-lab classes, I was able to watch videos about each nursing skill, such as proper positioning or IV placement technique, before I performed the skill for an instructor. In every other class, the Blackboard System helped me stay organized because teachers could post needed materials, lectures, videos, and slides online that helped me study before tests. Students can use the site to discuss material, post group projects and share ideas.
Oddest online learning experience: For my development across the lifespan class, the teacher posted a video on the course website of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, with the young girl narrating throughout the video, describing each phase of her temper tantrum. It was fun to watch and helped to teach about that phase in the lifespan.
What she thought of her online learning overall: I really enjoyed my online learning experience, because I already spend time online, which encourages me to access my course materials there too.
What else she did in school: Last year I had an undergraduate research internship at the National Institutes of Health. While I was there, I worked on a research project and developed a research question of my own. Working with a research team helped me to become more confident in asking questions and working with a group of people. I realized that people often enjoy telling you more about the topic that they study, so if you have questions then speak up and ask.
Most memorable experience thus far: I remember my very first day of clinical like it was yesterday. Another student and I were paired to work together with two patients that day. Neither of us had ever worked in a hospital before and because it was our first week of nursing school we weren't really sure what we were supposed to do. We asked our clinical instructor, a very experienced nurse, what to do and she suggested that we walk in and introduce ourselves to our patients, then see if they needed anything. When we finally walked in and introduced ourselves, we were both surprised by how quickly the patients trusted us to help them, in fact as soon as we said hello, someone asked us for a cup of water.
Would she do it all over again: Yes!
What would she do differently: I think as a graduating senior things that I "would have done differently" are still opportunities for things that I can do. I would like to learn more about global and community health, and I know that there are many wonderful Masters in Public Health degree programs available for me to do that.
One tip for others studying to be a nurse: There is a lot of work that needs to be done in nursing school, but always remember to take care of yourself.
What she plans to do next: I plan to enhance my cultural competency skills by traveling to Bangladesh this summer.
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