A look into the life of a Calvin nursing student

Photo courtesy Calvin Nursing Department

Photo courtesy Calvin Nursing Department

A pinch of kindness, a whole cup of hard work, at least a liter of late night study sessions, countless pots of coffee… What do you get? Sixty-four students, four years and one goal: becoming a nurse.

Dedication and hard work are some of the main ingredients for  a nurse. With professors like Dr. Cheryl Feenstra, chairperson of the nursing department, nurses are taught from the beginning that the heart of a nurse is a genuine one.

Although the competition is fierce with 64 students in the nursing program, they act more like a unit, helping each other out and giving each other advice when needed.

Emily Vannette, a junior nursing student, said, “I really enjoy helping people and feel like my vocation is caring for people.” Nurses are unique individuals who are able to melodiously go through the motions that many people feel nauseous about. But a persona that reflects a nurse does not form overnight.

Nursing students may not have to take two religion classes or fulfill a language requirement, but their schedules are filled to the brim. They typically have the same schedules for the first two years, which include all of the science and health classes.

However, for the next two years, nursing students get involved with community, getting hands-on experience and doing clinical trials. During their first semester in the program, nursing students are required to gain experience in community health and mental health.

Vannette said this semester has been an adjustment because “everything is new when you enter the program. You switch from learning sciences straight to nursing, nursing, nursing.”

The program’s second semester is a totally different story because the nursing students are introduced to a hospital setting. Working with kids and babies adds a completely different twist to the whole “nurse” thing as well.

Pre-nurses gain hands-on experience administering medications in the form of an injection.

The decision to become a nurse, investing about 10-15 hours of studying a week and, at times, cramming for two major tests in the same week, is a lot to consider. Vannette, however, knew she wanted to be a nurse since she was a little girl; her nurses made a huge impact on her when she was in the hospital.

“I don’t remember much, but I do remember how awesome my nurses were and that’s one of the best memories I have from this experience,” she said.

Experiences like this made Vannette want to make a difference, like a lot of nurses do. Nursing is not for the faint of heart, nor is it everyone’s calling. However, there is no doubt that great nurses make a big impact in people’s lives.