Graduating BSN student from Sonoma County, California
Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
I decided to pursue nursing after shadowing in a specialty surgery center where I received my first glimpse into the world of nursing. I fell in love with the anatomy and physiologic processes that the body goes through in healthy and illness states. The most intriguing part for me was recovery after traumatic injuries. One amazing aspect about the field of nursing is that learning never ends; it’s a lifelong career with every day opportunities for continued knowledge and learning.
What drew you to the UArizona College of Nursing?
I visited the school several times at a young age and was captivated by the student culture. Overall, it was a positive environment that I felt I could be successful in. Nursing school tests each student in many ways; I realized how much the college offers to its students in terms of education and support throughout the degree process. I wanted to attend a school that was aimed at ensuring successful completion and early job acquisition, while still offering a variety of student support options.
"After speaking with students from several other schools, I realized how blessed I was to be able to apply the skills I was acquiring into bedside nursing. Many other programs weren’t offering nearly as many hours in clinical settings which made it more difficult for those students to integrate into nursing positions after graduation.” ~ Gillian Fernandez, Graduating BSN Student, Class of 2019
What features of your program are you especially passionate about?
I am passionate about the amount of time that students have access to in clinical settings. After speaking with students from several other schools, I realized how blessed I was to be able to apply the skills I was acquiring into bedside nursing. Many other programs weren’t offering nearly as many hours in clinical settings which made it more difficult for those students to integrate into nursing positions after graduation. The College of Nursing does a great job providing students time to implement their knowledge in a safe and practical manner.
What faculty particularly made the biggest impressions on you?
While there was a faculty member each semester that left me with a lasting impression, Dr. Sharon Hom left the biggest impression on my developing career. Dr. Hom teaches pathophysiology in the first semester of the four-semester program. She applies herself to her work and offers students as much knowledge and support as possible. The biggest impression she made for me was her kindness. Dr. Hom was consistently compassionate each day and offered students words of encouragement during difficult weeks.
Can you share a favorite memory from your time at the College of Nursing?
One of my favorite memories at the College of Nursing was learning how to insert peripheral IVs into the simulation arms of the SILC lab. I fondly remember spending a lot of time in the lab practicing the skill with friends and offering each other support. For me, it was one of the first skills that I learned where I truly felt like I was becoming a nurse.
What are your hopes for the future?
After graduation, I will be staying in Tucson, Arizona and will take a new graduate RN position on Banner University Medical Center’s trauma ICU. I hope to continue improving the nursing care behind trauma and burns at the bedside and policy level. I am also extremely passionate about the prevention of central line infections. In the distant future, I plan to continue my education for a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN).
What are your extracurricular activities?
Throughout nursing school, I mentored and tutored pre-nursing and nursing students in subjects that I had already completed. I also spent time shadowing nurses in several fields to better understand the environment I was hoping to work in post-graduation. During my time in nursing school, I also began networking with the board members of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) to better comprehend legislative matters that influence nursing practice. I have completed several certifications including Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and the NIH Stroke Scale. Throughout my four semesters with the College of Nursing, I was an active member within the Student Nurses at the University of Arizona (SNUA) and participated in as many social and volunteer opportunities as possible. One of my favorite volunteer opportunities was answering questions for pre-nursing students after their interviews each semester. I have also volunteered for several events around Tucson such as the annual Tucson Nurses’ Week Foundation Conference and Gala. In the future, I hope to do more fundraising for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.