In honor of National Nurses Week (May 6-12), join us in celebrating the many wonderful and invaluable nurses who work with and impact our programs!
While still a nursing student at Chamberlain College of Nursing, Alyssa facilitated the 4Me Teen Health Project during the Fall 2014 series. She shares what she loves about nursing and the impact of working with youth in the community.
- Name: Alyssa Villamor
- Title: Registered Nurse
- Organization: UF Health Jacksonville
“So, why did you want to become a nurse?” That is the age old question that every nurse and nurse-to-be never seems to escape. You’re asked that question at the beginning of every new semester in nursing school. You’re asked that question at every interview for your first nursing job. And after you have become a well-seasoned nurse, with the years starting to collect on your degree and license, you’re still asked the question, whether it be from the next generation of nurses you’re training or as small talk from dinner companions.
You would think after being asked that question so many times, I would have a solid answer. But I don’t. Every time I’m asked that question, I have to pause and really think, “Why did I want to become a nurse? Why nursing?” And I think back to all the experiences I’ve had as both a nursing student and a new graduate nurse and remember why I love nursing. Every time a patient gets better and is discharged home, I’m reminded as to why I love nursing. Every time a patient smiles or laughs despite a painful procedure, I’m reminded as to why I love nursing. Every time a patient thanks me for the care they’ve received or asks me to better explain a new medication regiment that a doctor may have just handed them, I’m reminded as to why I love nursing.
I love nursing because we are the most trusted profession and our patients need the care that we give them. But what I love most about nursing are the different dynamics one needs to be a successful nurse: intelligence, professionalism, ambition, and a caring attitude. Nurses don’t just hand out medications and follow orders splayed out on a digital screen. We analyze and look at the different patient data presented before us and decide what approach is best based upon evidence-based practice. As a nurse, I love looking at the different puzzle pieces on a patient (e.g. their vital signs, their labs, their signs/symptoms) and determining how all the pieces connect to build a clearer picture of my patient and how to make them better.
Nurses are also very highly respected, and as we advance in our degrees, we garner more respect and responsibilities. I currently hold my Bachelors in the Science of Nursing (BSN) but I have ambitions to continue my education and gain more certifications. I love the variety nursing provides when it comes to choosing what I want to focus on (e.g. nursing education, Nurse Practitioner, specialize in a certain patient population). I also love how we are the largest body of individuals in healthcare and thus we are capable of transforming healthcare.
But what I love most about nursing is our ability to touch the lives of many in ways that others cannot. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Prior to graduating from Chamberlain College of Nursing and passing NCLEX (nursing boards), I was contracted with the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition as a Facilitator of their Teen Health Project. The majority of my responsibilities involved educating at-risk youth on proper sexual education in an effort to decrease current rising teen pregnancy and teen sexually-transmitted infection rates. I wanted to specialize in women’s health, so this position was a perfect way to bridge my desire to be a mentor and practice my nursing education. I thought that was all I would gain from the experience, but I ended up gaining much more and learning lessons that I would end up applying to my patient interactions and nursing environment to this day. Through facilitation, I got to learn so much more about the population I was serving and how best to interact with them. Many of these teens learned their sexual “knowledge” from myths and didn’t have a trustworthy source to separate the truth from the myths.
During my experience working with these teens, I gained the skills necessary to assess my patients’ knowledge level on their diseases and to educate them on safer, healthier practices in ways they would understand. While working with a co-facilitator, I learned how best to work in a professional manner with another team member and learned how to negotiate and delegate responsibilities. This experience has helped me to work and communicate better with my current coworkers, knowing that the ultimate goal is to deliver the best patient care in a professional setting. I currently work with an adult population in a local hospital (far from specializing in women’s health), but the experiences I’ve gained from facilitating the Teen Health Project has not only helped me to land my first nursing job but also helped me to become a better nurse.