Summer in LA as a nursing student!

Hey guys! My name is Faith and I am an incoming 4th year nursing student. This summer between junior and senior year is one that I spent in LA taking summer classes as a part of the nursing program. As a nursing student, I get a lot of hands-on experience in addition to theory and classroom knowledge.

For the first half of summer, I spent one day a week at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Working at CHLA has always been a dream of mine, so it was really special being able to spend 12 hours there every Tuesday caring for the kiddos on the floor each week. I worked with patients between 3 months and 18 years old. At CHLA, I got to experience units that focused on kids with cancer, kids with heart problems, and babies that had health problems or were born prematurely. It was difficult to watch children be sick and in pain, but I felt really lucky to be a part of the team that was making them feel better. I even got to spend a few hours just cuddling a baby so it would fall asleep!

Outside of the hospital, my classmates and I spend many hours studying for the many exams and quizzes that we have each week. We learn about practical skills to put to use in the hospital such as inserting IVs and catheters, changing dressings on wounds, or providing oxygen, but we also gain knowledge about specific skills to use for the populations we are caring for at the time. For example, as I head into a new field of Labor and Delivery, I am learning all about monitoring a baby’s heart rate and contractions as the mom gives birth. It is so tricky interpreting all the lines and waves on our monitoring strips, but I feel so empowered to take care of my patients each week and I steadily begin to understand what is going on inside the mom’s belly and figure out how to take care of her and keep her baby safe.

At UCLA, the nursing cohort, what we call each graduating class, is very small, just 50 students. I learn a lot from my fellow classmates and develop a close relationship with them and our professors as a result. To allow for our cohort to have as many clinical days as possible spread throughout the week during our junior and senior year, all of our lecture classes meet on Friday. While it can be difficult clustering so many hours of learning and tests all onto the same day, my friends and I get to have a lot of fun keeping each other engaged and goofing off during the water breaks. I love building camaraderie with my fellow future nurses – I have so much respect for them. Every class I learn something interesting about one of my classmates and it is so neat to realize what a diverse, interesting group of people we are a part of.

Nursing school can be challenging, but I love my peers and I am so excited to know that in just one year we will be taking our board exam and become Registered Nurses! UCLA has given me the skills, knowledge and confidence to walk in the hospital and know how to meet patients where they are at. We have worked so hard for this and I can’t wait to see the difference that we all make as we move to new cities and begin to care for patients and get to make their days a little brighter.

By Faith P.