Ever since I was five years old, I have loved the idea of working in the medical field — it’s been my dream. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to learn more about medical professions. I also realized I like working with kids, so I wanted to combine the two and become a nurse who works in the delivery room and helps women who are in labor.
As a sophomore at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts, I got my first real chance to learn what it would be like to become a nurse this summer. Throughout the school year, my college counselor, Ms. Jakob, worked with me to find a program that fit my career goals. When Ms. Jakob told me about University of Rochester’s pre-college nursing program, it seemed perfect. I filled out an application that included my transcript and an essay on why I wanted to attend. This process required me to rewrite multiple drafts of the essay and I learned how much work goes into completing a college-style application.
From the beginning, this program was an amazing experience. Not only was I able to meet high school students from all over the country, but I also got an insider’s perspective into being a University of Rochester student by taking two courses, “Career in Nursing” and “What’s up, Doc.” In both classes, I learned you need to know an incredible amount in order to become a registered nurse, and I even got some first-hand experience like taking a patient’s blood pressure, preparing an IV, and sewing up a wound.
These experiences taught me so much. When we learned how to sew up a wound, our teacher demonstrated the exact technique of weaving the needle in and out and diagrammed the steps out on a whiteboard. Then, we practiced on pig skin, which has a similar feel to human skin. It ended up being really fun and interesting—surprisingly, I wasn’t grossed out!
But I didn’t just learn skills. I also got a sense of the nursing community. It was clear that nurses share a tight-knit work environment and that they bond over the beauty of seeing others recover. In the mornings, as I would walk into class, I would overhear conversations between nurses.
I didn’t just learn skills. I also got a sense of the nursing community. It was clear that nurses share a tight-knit work environment and that they bond over the beauty of seeing others recover.
“How’s the baby?” one might ask. “When can I come and drop off a gift?” another would wonder.
These nurses were involved in each other’s lives, and when they came to work, they had a second family.
The program also taught us about the demands of the profession. In one of my classes, a nurse spoke to us about his hours and how the job affects his personal life. He mentioned that he could be outside the hospital relaxing, and if he’s paged, all of the sudden he must come to work immediately. That stuck with me, showing just how tough nursing can be.
Although pursuing a career in nursing takes a lot of time and hard work, this program showed me that it’s worth it. Through my program at the University of Rochester, I have become even more passionate about the career and am excited to do the work it takes to become a registered nurse.
Suneil Jeter is an 11th grader at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts. She plans to study nursing in college.