Nursing students take on heavy class and work loads

By Danielle Golab

Imagine the average student workload. Now double it. That is the stress that nursing students like Serei Chouch are confronted with.

Dominican started offering a bachelor’s degree in nursing this year and Serei Chouch was on board from the beginning. Debra Gurney, director of the nursing program, says that there are currently 18 nursing students enrolled in the program. She expects that number to grow to 48 next year. Chouch will be one of the first nursing students to graduate in 2016.

You can tell Chouch is excited about being a nursing student by the way her face lights up when she describes the program. Her enthusiasm becomes contagious with each word she speaks. She says that she is not only excited but proud to be part of the nursing program. Chouch already has a bachelor’s degree from Dominican in natural science. She became interested in nursing when got a job as a medical assistant.

Chouch goes to class three times a week, followed by a three-hour lab on Thursdays and a full day of hands-on clinicals on Wednesdays. Chouch goes straight to work after school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. She works weekends as well.

Chouch’s job as a medical assistant has prepared her for clinicals, which are held at a nearby hospital and serve the purpose of practicing skills learned in the lab on real patients. At her job, she preps the patients by taking their vital signs, drawing blood and reading test results. Clinicals include checking patients’ vitals, bathing, oral care, and changing patients’ bedding.

Chouch has had to make some changes in her daily life to adapt to her new nursing schedule. Clinicals start at Rush Oak Park Hospital at 6:30 a.m., which means that she must wake up at 4 a.m. to be ready. She lives off campus in Norridge. “I wasn’t a morning person but that’s all part of discipline and prioritizing, so I am a morning person now” Chouch said.

Fellow nursing student Tiana Patterson agrees that discipline and prioritizing really is part of the job. “Time management is a crucial skill to do my best in the program.” Patterson said.

Chouch’s medical assistant job and nursing training has influenced the rest of her life as well.  She looks for symptoms to diagnosis patients everywhere she goes. “Now I see myself walking around and assessing students on campus” she said.

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