As many of you know from reading my previous blogs, or just know from knowing me in general, I am a Junior in the Nursing Program here at UC. I applied in Fall of 2011 and was accepted in November 2011. I started my freshman year in Fall of 2012.
I did not always know I wanted to be a nurse, in fact I didn’t even really think about it till my H.S. Biology teacher looked at me one day and told me that I’d make a really good nurse. From there I just kinda took her suggestion and ran with it. I had always had elderly grandparents so I was no stranger to hospitals, and I knew I wanted to be in a job where I was helping people, so what better career then to become a Nurse?
Finding out I wanted to be a Nurse was half the battle though, the other half was finding the right Nursing school. I had a lot of options, I could have gone the Nursing school route and graduated with my associates in two years, or I could look for a four year program attached to a University. Besides wanting my bachelors over an associates, I also really wanted the so called “college experience”. Therefore, it was a no brainer to look for four year schools with Nursing programs.
I found that there were many schools with Nursing programs but not all were created equal. The general theme that I kept coming away with every college I visited was, “Nursing is super Hard, You will have no life”. I mean literally, I was told over and over , program after program, how if you were a nursing student you could kiss any sports or extracurricular activities you loved goodbye.
I was really put off by this idea as I planned on continuing Cheerleading into college and participating in Theater club just like I always had in High School. I’m a person who likes doing things, so to be told that I’d have to give up the things I love for a career I would love, was very discouraging.
This was not the case when I visited UC. For accepted student day we were split up by major and had the opportunity to talk to the faculty and dean of the Nursing department. I was thrilled to find that UC’s program had a very different philosophy. They wanted the well rounded student. They wanted the student athlete to be able to also do the Nursing Program. Many of the teachers talked about their students and shared how many activities they were involved in. I still was told that Nursing would be a challenging program but at least I knew if I came here I wouldn’t have to stop doing the things I loved.
So, I went with UC and haven’t had any regrets since. I was able to do the things I loved. Freshman year I joined the football cheerleading team, and in the spring I was in the spring theater production. My following sophomore year, my friend Danielle and I started a Basketball Cheerleading team. Therefore, I think it’s important to share my experiences on picking a nursing program and how to go about it for anybody who might be trying to do the same.
The New Program
If you’ve heard anything about the nursing program, you might have heard some negative opinions about the change of the new program. In 2012, Utica’s Nursing Program switched to a t 2+2 program. This just means that our freshman and sophomore year we take our liberal arts core and major related courses, then starting the beginning our junior year we take our first nursing classes.
My class is the first group to go through this change. With all new changes, challenges arise. It was a little bit of bummer at first to find out I had to wait two years to start my nursing core verses just a year like the old program. However, now that I’m in my junior year I see how much easier it makes my life.
The 2+2 program allows us to get our core out of the way so we can just solely focus on our Nursing classes. If you’re someone who struggles with math like me, it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to take statistics along with a challenging nursing course like Medical-Surgical Nursing. The greatest benefit of the 2+2 program is the ability to fully dedicate yourself to nursing classes without worrying about other core or major related courses.
What UC’s Nursing Program is like? Just like with all other programs at UC, being in the Nursing Program here is great because of the small class size. I went to private school for High School and graduated with 83 people. I knew all my classmates by first and last name, and I knew my teachers and they knew me. This is something I knew I didn’t want to give up in college. In the nursing program here at UC you really get that one on one attention from your professors. They know you and you know them. Same goes for my classmates. It is very family like which is something I really admire.
In addition to the small classes, we have a beautiful state of the art Nursing lab which is also very hard to find in other school’s nursing program. I remember one particular school I visited, and their lab was only slightly bigger than my bedroom at home (which is not very big). UC’s lab is built just like an actual medical floor unit. We have a classroom with doctor exam tables that are fully equipped, and then on the other side we have our hospital style beds with our mannequins and a nurse’s station. We also have a fully operating simulation room with a sim man.
Another thing I really like about the program is our availability to go to multiple hospitals and facilities for clinical. Just this semester along I’ve done a clinical at St.Luke’s, Masonic Home, and Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. If I was to attend a Nursing school with an affiliated hospital, your pretty much bound and obligated to do your clinicals with that hospital. Being able to do multiple clinicals with different hospitals really gives you an idea of what you might want to do, what type of setting you’d like to work in, and all the many opportunities in nursing that are out there.
Before listening to any rumors you’ve heard, take the time to really look in to UC’s Nursing program. Picking a school is something to take seriously. You have to really do your research and pick wisely to find what you want in a program. In terms of state of the art and innovation, UC’s program takes the cake. We have a beautiful lab, have multiple sim man’s and mannequins to practice on, have a great faculty, and a great community. If you’re thinking of coming to UC for nursing or switching majors to nursing, this is the place you want to be.