Archive for April 10, 2017

A Warrior’s Weekend

Richelle St. Louis, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

For my pediatric rotation, I had the privilege of volunteering at a Camp Twin Lakes-sponsored event for military veterans and their families through the Wounded Warrior’s Program. The point of this camp was to provide a weekend of time devoted to building relationships within families whom have had to deal with prolonged separation due to serving in the armed forces. For three days, a group of Emory students stayed at the Camp Twin Lakes site in Windsor, GA and were responsible for encouraging and facilitating activities that the families would participate in, ranging from scavenger hunts to Top Chef cooking battles.

I had been assigned to a family with a young girl who was the daughter of an injured veteran. In just the first few moments of meeting my assigned family, I felt so welcomed and accepted. They spared no time to make me feel as if I was a part of them and were eager to share their stories. For one of the first camp activities, we were asked to create a Native American tribal name that we would go by for the rest of the weekend. It was extremely interesting to see how creative the families were in coming up with some pretty interesting names. What I really enjoyed about the camp was finding myself being pushed beyond my comfort zone. I am the type of person who tends to stay quiet and withdraw into a crowd. But during my time at the camp I was actively involved in the activities and found myself doing things like karaoke in front of a large crowd of people.

The most somber part of the weekend, was when the parents and children were split into groups and asked what they wanted to tell each other about struggles that they were having from the pressure of military service. Some of the things that were noted were, “I want to spend more time with you,” “I feel alone in my own family,” “and you don’t understand what I am going through.” Being the daughter of a military veteran myself, the emotions that these families were experiencing really struck me. It reminded me how I felt growing up in a family where my father was never around due to deployment. These emotions became even more tangible as I watched fathers and children with tears in their eyes as they spoke about these hardships. It made me realize the true significance of the camp was in providing the time and space for families to truly open up to each other about how they were feeling and find ways to mend broken relationships and build stronger family bonds as a result.

In the beginning, I did not see how going to camp for weekend would make me a better nurse. From my time at Camp Twin Lakes, I learned that there are factors beyond what the health care provider sees in the hospital that affect the health and lifestyle of people, that are completely out of the patients control. The stress of potentially losing a loved one in combat or having to deal with the separation or constant changes in life, can have a negative effect in whatever population you are looking to serve. I believe it is important for nursing students to recognize that and find opportunities to volunteer for different programs that serve varying populations, in order to be more prepared and open minded when engaging patients in the clinical setting.

My First Clinical Experience

Aliyah Saadein, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

I remember all the emotions I felt prior to entering nursing school; anxiousness, fear, excitement, and everything in between. Aside from the school work, most of those feelings stemmed from what would be a real life experience as a nurse during our clinical rotations. When the time came in the middle of the semester, I was assigned to a cardiac step-down unit with a group of people I did not know.

On my first day after orientation I remember feeling so excited and prepared for what was to come; little did I know how wrong I would be. I did not know exactly what I expected but I definitely thought at least some things would be easy. I expected talking to patients, interacting with other medical staff members, and performing actions that I practiced prior in lab to be easy. In fact, the things I expected to be the easiest actually became the most challenging when I met real life people with very real problems.

I had to practice speaking to patients without spewing out the medical terminology they teach us in class while still educating them about their medications and their diagnosis. By the time I started clinical, it was around the middle of the semester. I adapted to nursing school quickly and by that time, I thought I had my time management skills under control. Once again, I was wrong. When I was in the hospital things constantly moved fast; patients were discharged, orders were changed, and my work evolved fluidly throughout the day. It became difficult to time everything correctly so that I could perform vital signs, assessment, medications, all while making sure the patient had everything they needed to be comfortable. I had to make sure that before I started the day, I made a game-plan of how I was going to approach the shift to make sure I completed everything in addition to charting (remember: if you didn’t chart it, it didn’t happen).

It also is easy to compare yourself to other peers during the clinical experience. Even though I tried not to, I found myself comparing my knowledge and skill ability to other students. I found myself thinking “I don’t know as much they do” or hearing about other students performing these intense skills while I had still only performed the basics, which caused me to feel like I was behind. Even though I still experience these feelings, I remind myself that these skills come with time and experience. Not everyone is in the same hospital or on the same floor so people are bound to perform different tasks. To make it a little easier for me, I had a great clinical instructor who always reminded us of that and always pushed us to reach out of our comfort zone and perform new tasks even if we were nervous.

I am only a second semester nursing student. By now, I feel like I have experienced it all but I know I have only seen a small fraction of what the realities of nursing are. Going forward with my clinical experience I remind myself that I am a student and that the whole purpose of my clinical experience is to learn and become better. Even though it is embarrassing in the moment, I also tell myself that is okay to make mistakes and it is better to make mistakes during clinical with an instructor around than as a practicing Registered Nurse. I still struggle with all of the things I have mentioned, but I know that I have learned so much and feel so much better as I step into the hospital now compared to that first day on the cardiac step-down unit.

My Experiences as a Student Nurse

Roya Shareefy, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

Being in nursing school was definitely my most challenging years both academically and in life. When they say that nursing school takes over your life, I can say that nursing school truly did. I had to focus more on my studies than other aspects of life, and learn so much in a short amount of time. The clinical experience of nursing school allowed me to have the opportunity to put what I learned in my classes and readings into action. Clinicals really put in perspectivewhat it truly is like to be a nurse. We talk about this all the time in our classes, but nothing fully captures the skills and responsibilities necessary for nursing better than hands-on experience in a clinical environment.

I experienced so much during my clinical rotations. My first clinical rotation at the main Emory University Hospital eased me into performing nursing functions. I remember when I first started, I felt nervous about actually providing nursing care. When I compare myself to how I was when I first started clinicals, I have definitely learned and grown so much as a student nurse. One of my favorite experiences during clinical was when I had a patient who was first starting chemotherapy. My nurse preceptor told me that patients often experience an anaphylactic reaction to the medication when theyfirst start chemotherapy, so it is important to run the medication at a slower rate. My nurse preceptor said that if we had a patient who reacted to the medication, we should stop running the chemo, check the patient’s blood pressure, and then give the appropriate medication from the emergency kit. When I checked my patient a couple of minutes after starting his chemotherapy, I asked him questions related to a anaphylactic reaction. I also noticed his face was getting a little red and he looked short of breath. He mentioned having lower back pain, so I immediately stopped the infusion, started taking his blood pressure, and notified my nursing preceptor. His blood pressure was within his normal limits, so we gave him Benadryl via his IV. The Benadryl helped the patient, and we had the Benadryl running when we started his chemotherapy medication again, but at a slower rate stated by the physician. This time the patient did not have a anaphylactic reaction, and tolerated his chemotherapy well.

This experience taught me how important it is to asses your patient and to teach your patient beforehand about the reaction the patient could have due to the medication. My nurse preceptor and I taught our patient about the reactions he could have due to the chemotherapy; due to our teaching, our patient recognized his symptoms and was able to know that what he was experiencing was an expected adverse reaction. During clinicals, I had many experiences where I had to think on my feet and conduct nursing care quickly. These experiences taught me a lot about how to be a nurse and emphasized the importance of conducting proper patient care.

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Roya Shareefy is  a fourth year student from Atlanta, Georgia pursing her BSN degree at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She is a BUNDLE Scholar, and serves on the executive board of Emory’s Multicultural Student Nursing Association.

Clinical Experience in Emory Midtown Hospital

Xiqin Huang, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Xiqin Huang, and I am a junior BSN student in the Emory School of Nursing. I am from Queens, New York.

The clinical rotation is very important component in the nursing education, because it can integrate your knowledge from lectures into real life settings. I had my medical/surgical clinical rotation in Emory Midtown Hospital for past 2 months, and it was a great experience.

My unit is an extremely busy because there are 50 beds with 10 nurses and 5 nurse techs. Also, in this unit, we had a great variety of patients such as COPD, HIV, pressure ulcers etc. During this clinical, I was able to see many diseases processes and nursing interventions that were described my textbooks. Usually, each student is assigned to one patient for the whole clinical rotation and paired up with that patient’s primary nurse. In 1st week in the hospital, I had a fabulous, wonderful nurse who really took her time to welcome and teach me. She asked me to explain all the medication to her. Also, she brought me to watch procedures on other patients that I wasn’t assigned so that I could get to experience new things.

Moreover, in this clinical, I was able to give different medications through different routes such oral, IV, G-tube etc. It was a wonderful learning opportunity to get more exposures in real hospital setting instead of reading books and watching videos. In my very last clinical shift, I was able to observe my patient’s surgical procedure, craniotomy. It is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain. And I saw other different types of nurses in operating room. A scrub nurse prepares the operating area by laying out the necessary instruments and equipment. Before each procedure, nurses thoroughly disinfect their hands and arms and then putting on sterile clothing. Under the direction of the surgeon, scrub nurses handle instruments, assist with procedures, and monitor the patient throughout the operation.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me in the nursing school, and it made me to become more interested in nursing field.

A Year Worth of Clinical

Isai Flores, BSN Junior, BUNDLES Scholar

The night before clinical I could not sleep from excitement. Filled with nervousness and anxiousness, I tossed and turned in my bed unaware that the morning was quickly approaching. I had organized everything I needed prior to going to bed. I neatly folded my scrubs and placed them on top of my dresser. I imagined how it would feel to finally be in the hospital in my uniform. I felt proud about all the skills that I had learned in the classroom. However, I also knew that I would not perform my skills on mannequins but rather on living people. I did not have the luxury of getting a second opportunity to perform the given skill. When I woke up in the morning, I put that anxiety behind me and pushed forward knowing I was prepared. I put my scrubs on, double-checked if I had packed everything and headed out the door anticipating my first footsteps in the hospital. I expected to see a wide array of patients – each unique with different health concerns and with different plans of care. I yearned to see how nursing theory translated into practice.

Turning left off of Ponce de Leon Drive, I saw the sign: Emory University Midtown Hospital. I was ready to enter the hospital and arrive at Unit 31. The culture of the unit could be summed up in one word: inviting. This was my first semester in nursing school.  They were very open to us even though we were students with very limited knowledge. I think by the end of that semester I had mastered the art of the bed bath. During that first rotation, I shadowed a nurse who had worked on that same unit for thirty years. She encouraged me to speak to the patients and ask her questions about anything I noticed. I asked her about how she schedules her day, how she chooses what assessments to perform on the patients, and so many other questions. She answered every single question with eagerness, willing to share her knowledge.

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Second semester, so far had been fantastic. Population health and pediatrics were the best moments of my clinical experience. Waking up the morning of my first day of population health clinical, I knew I would be greeted by familiarity. First, because I had spent time at Mommy & Me for service learning last semester. Secondly because I hoped to stay with the same kids from last semester. Despite this familiarity with Mommy and Me, Clarkston was starkly unfamiliar to me. We have only a few weeks and the thought of planning a substantive intervention slightly worried me because six weeks seemed too little. I thought: how would we do this? What was the main problem that they faced? How would we help ameliorate all the health issues that this community faced daily? I knew the answer to that question already. We simply could not. At least – not in the time span that we have. However, I know that we could think of something that can, at least for the time being, address some of the health issues. At the end of my session, we made home visits to the mothers to further assess the health needs of the community. They were a source of inspiration and bounding resilience that could only be gained by personal experience. In the end, we worked on educating the mothers on health insurance and how to renew benefits for their children.

Overall I have learned that health care is so multi-faceted. The multi-dimensional approaches to health that we have taken in my clinical experience have surpassed my expectations. I look forward to next year and the future where I can learn more and achieve more.

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Isai Flores is a third year student at Emory, in the school of nursing, pursing his BSN. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a BUNDLE Scholar.

Population health

Alex King, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Alex King, and I am a junior BSN candidate. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and I started my college career at Georgia College and State University and transferred to Emory University for the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. For my community health rotation, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Phan at the Atlanta Housing Authority site. For this clinical rotation, we focused on identifying health disparities within the community then planned interventions accordingly. We identified social anxiety as the major health disparity among the population. We conducted a literature review and found that group therapy was very beneficial for people with social anxiety, so we decided to hold a session for them. I decided to take on the responsibility of leading this intervention. I had never conducted a group therapy session before, so I did some research and found out that the best way to conduct the group therapy session is to come up with discussion questions beforehand. I came up with “would you rather” questions such as “would you rather pause time or go back in time.” I thought that these would be fun and light way to get the ball rolling, but little did I know they would become heart-opening questions that would create new friendships. When I started the group therapy session, I was very nervous about how it would go and whether people would have a hard time opening up. Almost immediately once I started asking the would you rather questions people began opening-up. It was amazing how deep people got in answering the questions. When I asked them the question about pausing time or going back in time, it allowed people to reminisce with each other about the good times they had in the past when they were younger. What I found to be even more beneficial was when they started to talk about past life events that were hard for them or things they regretted. This then created a scenario where they started to support each other. When someone said that they lost their job, it instantly created an environment where people supported that individual in realizing what a good learning experience it was. They concluded that hos job loss created a life experience that allowed him to realize that if he could overcome that, he could overcome anything. This went on for more than an hour, and I ended up having to stop the session because it went over time. I would have never dreamed of this hour group therapy session being so productive, especially with having no experience beforehand. It made me realize how productive and beneficial it is to go into a community and provide services based on the needs of the population. This has given me a taste of how awesome it is to assess a community, prioritize their health disparities, research the issue, plan outcomes, and see the results that come from these outcomes and the wonderful benefits that follow. I am so glad that I got to do my public health clinical with the AHA, my Emory Nursing peers, and Dr. Phan.

It’s a PA, It’s a MD, … um it’s a NURSE!

The journey to becoming a nurse was rather unconventional for me. I knew when I began started at Emory College that I wanted to do something that involved being around people, making a difference, and a change of pace every now and then. My experience may be a little different from my fellow colleagues because I transitioned from Emory College to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. My first week was filled with orientation and getting a feel of the college. We had orientation leaders and small group discussion among first-year students. The first few questions were aimed at getting to know one another.

“What is everyone’s perspective major or career track?”

I honestly did not know and I assumed that a few people did not know as well. We were a group of 12, so I was interested to hear what others wanted to do in the future. As everyone went around the circle all I heard was ‘I want to be a doctor.’ This was then followed by someone who said that they assumed that’s how the rest of the circle felt like. I was surprised not because of my peer’s response, but of my orientation leaders lack to facilitate the conversation in a more neutral light. However, this was not a problem that simply remained in my first few weeks of college, but the mindset that if you were not doing medicine then you were doing public health followed me until I came across nursing.

A friend of mine who was thinking about pursuing nursing invited me to sit in on one of their lectures. It was the end of freshman year and I was in a crisis because I simply had no idea what I wanted to do, so I said to myself, “why not?” The lecture we decided to audit was a Patho course and I was hooked as soon as class started. The professor was engaging and even though the class was three hours time seemed to fly. She was not only engaging but showed so much passion for the course that I wanted to take it. Soon after I had a chance to talk to a few of the students and they told me about the ups and downs of nursing school. I appreciated how open and honest they were being with a complete stranger. By the time I left I had made a decision. I was going to pursue nursing as a career because it had so much to offer.

You are probably wondering about my title. This post represents my journey to nursing school and the wall society automatically puts up because you are a nurse. My mom was not against it, but she proceeded to ask me if I was going to use this as an opportunity to go to med school. A few people who I tell that I am a nursing student ask me the same thing. I’m not mad about this, but simply sad that the career does not get the recognition and appreciation that others do simply because of the lack of knowledge most people have about the profession. I honestly do not blame anyone for that. If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and all that you know about health care is what you see on TV, then I fully expect misconceptions about the roles in a real hospital.

As people I interact with have gained greater exposure to the life of a nursing student, I have seen their appreciation and also respect for my career choice. One of the most memorable days I think a future nurse ever experiences is when a patient truly thanks them for saving their life. Those are the moments I live for. Those moments are what give me the satisfaction that I will someday be a nurse.

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Gloria Alafe is a BSN junior as well as a BUNDLEs Scholar who looks forward towards embracing the diverse field of nursing. Her interest includes pediatric ICU as well as generational PTSD.

Triumph Over Limitations

Jordan Waites, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Jordan Waites. I am a Junior in the traditional BSN program. I am an active member of Emory Global Health Nursing Association, Global Medical Missions Alliance, Emory Student Nurses Association, and BUNDLE scholar. I have always enjoyed aiding underserved populations through various volunteer opportunities. I have served in rural areas of New Mexico, Alaska, and Peru. Additionally, I have volunteered at Mommy & Me Family Literacy Program with Friends of Refugees in Clarkston, Georgia. After observing the needs of these populations, my long-term goal is to provide compassionate patient care in the mission field. I am grateful for the opportunities provided by Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing because volunteer work is a true passion of mine. When I found out about an opportunity to volunteer at a weekend camp for families with high-functioning children on the autism spectrum, I felt led to offer my time. I personally felt passionately about this opportunity because I have an adult brother who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome. I have witnessed society’s negative attitude towards my brother. He is a happy, unsuspecting young man who wants to be accepted. I realize the importance of unconditional love, compassion, and the need for positive collaboration between families and counselors.

As a volunteer “Family Pal,” my task during the weekend camp was to assist families with activities. This allowed me to work very closely with children on the spectrum as well as their family members. As I was exposed to various families, I noticed that although many of the children were on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, they were all unique. Each of them had different struggles and concerns. Many could verbally communicate, whereas some only used 2-3 word sentences. Some could implement problem-solving, however, others experienced anxiety during activity. Throughout the weekend, I heard the quote, “When you meet one child with autism, you only meet ONE child with autism,” and I could not agree more with the statement. The struggles of one child could be another’s strength and vice versa. I learned through my camp experience that children and adults on the autism spectrum require personalized care. I believe that this knowledge is vital to understand as children and adults continue to be diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

I could not be happier that I took advantage of the opportunity that was provided to me by the School of Nursing. I am sure that many of the families who attended are very pleased that they were given the opportunity as well. On the final day of camp, a mother shared with me that her daughter recently had trouble with peers at school. The child would pull her hair out due to frustration and anxiety and children at school would question and mock her. The mother explained to me that camp was an opportunity for her daughter to be around other children who may struggle with the same difficulties. She expressed that the weekend camp was a safe place for her child to triumph over her struggles. In a similar way, volunteering at a weekend camp was a wonderful opportunity for me to step back from the stress of exams and deadlines in nursing school. It was a unique experience that enabled me to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Individuals with disabilities often are stigmatized, encountering not only physical barriers in daily

Individuals with disabilities often are stigmatized, encountering not only physical barriers in daily life but also emotional barriers. Loved ones cannot always protect them from subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice. School-age children with disabilities often have negative school experiences related to their disability. I understand the support families need and the importance of empathetic care. As a nurse, I look forward to providing support and helping families create a positive environment, focusing on their child’s aspirations instead of their limitations.

Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease

Tyra Skinner, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

This past Saturday, I decided to take a break from studying to visit the Carter Center. I was really excited to see what the Carter Center had for me to learn and absorb but I was most excited about the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease exhibition. The exhibit is fairly new to Atlanta and focuses on diseases that plagued many parts of the world and tracked their journey to eradication.

There were walls full of information about guinea worm disease, malaria, small pox, polio, trachoma and a few other diseases that are currently in the process of being eliminated or eradicated. Each disease had pictures and information about prevention, methods of transmission and the manifestations of the diseases on an individual and the community. According to the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease brochure, guinea worm disease could become the second human disease to ever be eradicated, with smallpox being the first.

What’s so hard about eradicating a disease? Don’t you just wash your hands and use clean water? Well obviously, it’s a little more complicated than that. Scientists have been working for decades just to control or eliminate some of these diseases. Disease eradication is one of the biggest challenges to public health and there are a number of reasons why some disease cannot be eradicated.

Measles is one of the most contagious, deadly disease that we still see today and is also eradicable. Even though, vaccines are reliable and common, there has been a rise in the number of cases in recent years. Increased disapproval of vaccines and lack of economic and governmental support has led to less children receiving the measles vaccine, leading to setbacks to the eradication of measles.

One tricky part about disease eradication is that not all diseases can able to be completely wiped out of existence. For example, Influenza is a common disease that is often brought to the public’s attention around fall and spring every year. It is also a disease that does not fit the criteria for eradication. Why? There are many different strains of the disease that mutates frequently so a vaccine that worked last year may not work the next year. Trachoma, a bacterial disease that spread through eye-seeking flies, is also not eradicable but the blindness that is caused by the disease can be treated with a surgery.

A part of the exhibit that really caught my eye was an educational flipbook from South Sudan that was made from cloth instead of paper. The book didn’t have any words on it and was bound more like a scroll than an actual flipbook. The one picture that I could see illustrated the proper filtering technique that is now utilized in many villages in Africa to filter water, preventing the transmission of pathogens like the guinea worm. Villagers place a cloth with a semi-permeable section in the middle on top of a bucket and pour water over it to make the water drinkable. Cloth was used instead of paper or cardboard books because paper and cardboard are not able to withstand the conditions of the fields in the most commonly affected areas.

The Carter Center had other exhibits that focus on the many great things that Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, have contributed to public health, global affairs and policy during his presidency and years after. I highly recommended checking it out, especially viewing the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease exhibit.

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Tyra Skinner is a traditional BSN student at Emory’s School of Nursing. She serves as a mentor and team leader for the Health Career Academy and is also a part of the BUNDLE program.

SGA President: Making Leadership Fun

Stefka Mentor, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar, Junior Class President

Hi everyone! My name is Stefka Mentor and I am a junior in the traditional BSN cohort. I am originally from New York but I completed my first two years of undergraduate here at Emory University. I am almost finished with my first year of nursing school, and it has been my hardest year yet. Nursing school is difficult and different than anything I have ever experienced before, but it is also completely worth it. In this past year, I have met incredible faculty, amazing students, and even greater nurses. I have been exposed to new ideas, new personalities and new ways of thinking. However, my greatest accomplishment and favorite part of nursing school is serving as SGA president for my cohort.

I was elected to serve as President in September and have been working hard with my board to make nursing school as fun and manageable for our fellow classmates as much as we possibly can. As president one of my key roles is serving as a liaison between the students and the faculty. I work hard to communicate the concerns and needs of my classmates to professors in hopes that they can be resolved and that a common ground can be reached. This is unlike any role I have or could have played while a student in the college. I get to directly interact with faculty, I get to know all my classmates and truly get to be a leader. Professors listen to the concerns of students and they are continuously working to better our experience. To have such an active role in this betterment is honestly a blessing.

Another one of my key roles as president, and my favorite role, is planning fun, destressing events for the cohort. In the fall, my board and I planned an ornament decorating event, where the students came out decorated ornaments of their choice, got to keep a free Emory Nursing phone wallet, and enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and hot cider. The students loved it. They were happy to take some time out of their busy, stressful day to enjoy a cup of hot cider and color. I was happy to see their faces. Just this past month, my board and I planned a buffet lunch for the cohort as nice way to welcome Spring. The students were surprised but so excited. Some students forgot to pack lunch that day, so they were so happy to learn they didn’t have to spend any money and they had a hot meal waiting for them.  I couldn’t stop smiling. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing my classmates relaxed, socializing, and happy to be at the school of nursing. The events we plan, give them that.

Before coming to nursing school, leadership seemed like a chore or a duty. It seemed as if it wasn’t something someone choose to do, but rather something they had to do. I learned quickly, that I was wrong. Leadership is a choice and it’s the best choice I have made. I wanted to be SGA president, I wanted to make my peers happy and I wanted to make their experience here at the school of nursing fun and everything they want it to be. There is nothing about being a leader that feels like a hassle but instead it’s enjoyable. Nursing school is hard but getting to serve as president makes up for it.