WYS: Student pursuing nursing career

Adriane Hardin

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Susan Jackewicz gives her mind a rest and exercises her body through step aerobics.

With each rhythmic beat, Jackewicz can feel the stress of everyday life melt away.

“Exercise teaches you to prioritize,” she said.

Jackewicz is completing her last semester of the nursing program and will receive a bachelor’s degree in nursing in May.

She said the advantages the degree offers in the post-graduation job hunt far outweigh the stress of pursuing the degree.

“There is an abundance of jobs,” Jackewicz said. “You can work anywhere, and you’re helping people all the time.”

Jackewicz likes helping people so much that she hopes to continue her study of nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

She hopes to enter the master’s program and specialize in acute care nursing, which will allow her to care for critically ill patients.

Her work at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville as a nursing extern, or nursing assistant, taught her that she loves the fast pace of critical care.

“I worked on a floor of vascular surgery,” Jackewicz said. “We were always on our feet.”

The experience she gained at St. Thomas has proved invaluable for Jackewicz.

“You never know what to expect until you’re in that setting,” she said.

Jackewicz said a typical day in a nursing clinic might include passing out medications, checking vital signs, giving baths and changing bed linens, as well as starting intravenous injections and inserting catheters.

She said that some nursing students prefer to work with a certain group of patients.

“Some of the people in our class despise working with the elderly,” she said. “They can work with children or with OB patients.”

She will soon take the Graduate Record Exam. If she is accepted to Vanderbilt’s MSN program, she will live at home and commute to Nashville.

“I want to get my master’s right now,” Jackewicz said. “So I won’t have to worry later.”

She said she feels Nashville has a great need for acute care nurses. She said she also looks forward to providing comfort to the families of critically ill patients.

Jackewicz is mildly nervous about leaving Western and entering the master’s program. She said the lessons she has learned through the nursing program have been very applicable and valuable to her life.

She said the second semester of the program was difficult, but it taught her to prioritize her time.

She learned that if you need to study, you should study and not go shopping or go out to a party.

“You can avoid failing if you apply yourself,” Jackewicz said. “You can sit down and study if you really want to.”

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]