The American Nurses Association designated one day during National Nurses Week — May 8 — as National Student Nurses Day. To mark the occasion, we spoke to student nurses from across the country about what National Nurses Week means to them, how their schools celebrate and why they chose nursing as a career.
“Knowing there is a week dedicated to the millions of nurses in America makes me grateful to be a part of the nursing community. Like many other student nurses, I was drawn to the field by the core nursing values that align with my own: caring, integrity, diversity and excellence. I want to be the person standing next to your loved one, providing words of support and competent care throughout the healing process.”
— Ara Kim, a junior in the BSN program at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and a member of the New Jersey Nursing Students Inc. board of directors
“During National Nurses Week, it’s nice to see students express their gratitude to the peers and faculty who inspire and encourage them each day. Dr. Susan Zori and Dr. Karen Mancini are two of my advisers who have always had an open door for me and I’m grateful to have had them as mentors. National Nurses Week also reminds me that one day, I too can have an impact on student nurses similar to the impact that so many faculty members have had on me.”
— Alexandria Ruddy, a senior in the BSN program at Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health, Garden City, N.Y., and president of school’s student nurses association
“I believe National Nurses Week is a great time to celebrate our instructors, not only for their nursing service but for their continued dedication to promoting the future of nursing through education. Many of my instructors lead by example through volunteer work or by continuing their own education in nursing. I have always seen this week as a time to thank the nurses in my life.”
— Megan Kennedy, a freshman in the ADN program at Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, Calif.
“National Nurses Week inspires us to reach out to other communities and use our skills to create a beneficial environment for all. Our inspiration has led us to Guatemala where we provide health clinics and are humbled to give anything we can to the members of these communities. Watching my mom practice nursing for more than 25 years showed me nursing would be the best avenue for me to pursue as both a health professional and someone who looks at the whole of an individual. Being raised partially in a third world country, I’ve seen the limited healthcare access many have and believe nursing is the path I can take to make a difference.”
— Nigam Reddy, a senior in the BSN program at Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla. He currently is on a medical mission with nursing students in Guatemala.
“National Nurses Week recognizes how valuable our profession is and displays the numerous career paths you can take as a nurse. I believe nursing is a beautiful profession that bridges the gap between looking at the physical damage a person has along with all the extra pieces that make them who they are. Our Student Nurses Association is planning a week of activities that showcases the reach of nursing in different communities.”
— Kathryn Davies, senior, BSN, minor in Psychology, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla., serving on a medical mission with nursing students in Guatemala
“National Nurses Week helps me to remember the depth of possibilities that exist within the nursing profession, as well as the long and remarkable history of how nursing has evolved over the years. I decided nursing was my calling when I was 14 and my grandfather was very sick and in the hospital. I was in awe of how compassionate and professional the nurses were and how they made his family feel involved in his healing as well. I knew I wanted to be like them someday, taking care of patients and their families, and making a positive impact on people’s lives.”
— Rosie Humes, a junior in the BSN program at the University of Portland (Ore.) School of Nursing, Portland
“Nurses are advocates, leaders and educators and are a valuable piece of the healthcare team. National Nurses Week gives others [outside of the profession a chance] to recognize their role. I had always considered a career in nursing and shortly after high school, the person closest to me almost lost his life. Nurses were there for him around the clock, continuously monitoring and assessing, answering questions for the family as well as the patient. I decided I wanted to be that person.”
— Kayla Campos, a senior in the ADN program at San Francisco (Calif.) City College
“My college celebrates National Nurses Week by displaying both faculty and student research, hosting lectures, and inspiring other students to become nurses. The week inspires me to continue to further my education and to explore opportunities.”
— Ethan Bravin, a junior in the BSN program at Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health, Garden City, N.Y., and chairman of the Student Activities Board
“I was inspired after hearing a nurse talk about how she worked to lower the infant mortality rate in her community. It made me realize that nurses have such a wide range of opportunities and that they can affect change both at the bedside and at the legislative level. My nursing school celebrates National Nurses Week in conjunction with the JFK Medical Center, and it’s great to not only see the many contributions that nurses are making but to also see them get recognition from patients and the community via social media for accomplishments that may have gone unnoticed.”
— Alexandra May, RN, recent graduate of JFK Muhlenberg Harold B. and Dorothy A. Snyder School of Nursing, Plainfield, N.J., and president of New Jersey Nursing Students Inc.
Tagging teachers, celebrating mentors
A good mentor can lead a nurse down a path toward a fulfilling career. Mentors also can build confidence, engage and motivate new nurses and students. Who inspired you in your career? To celebrate National Nurses Week, we asked our Facebook followers to give a shout-out to their mentors. Here are a few responses we received to the question, “Do you have a mentor who changed your life or influenced your career? Tell us why!” And the grateful mentors responded!
“Donna Gutierrez. Wonderful instructor, knowledgeable, and inspirational!!! Best clinical experience with this beautiful woman. Grateful to now call her a colleague. Thanks for all you’ve done for me and taught me.” — Steph Herrera
“Steph Herrera! Thank you! I’m grateful for our friendship! You’re an awesome and caring nurse. Our Veterans are blessed to have you!” — Donna Gutierrez
“Rosie Sigler Silberling because she believed in me when I needed that. Kathy Kigerl because she pushed me to become more than I thought I could. Am honored that these women are now my friends.” — Cindy Mattor Paige
“You rock Cindy Mattor Paige - and let’s not forget high tea & beautiful linens.” — Rosie Sigler Silberling
“Cindy, thank you for the kind words! You always had it in you- the creativity/the organization/the leadership skills- you just needed a little ‘push’!” — Kathy Kigerl
“Several strong nurse mentors as a student!” — Sharon Barlow Caldwell
“Donna Baldwin you are the best!” — Melissa Crotty
“Scarlett Renee Gutierrez, Nancy Wells, Ann Amos McCalister” — James Rowe
“Jackie Ballard, Lena Bath, Rebecca Cuda, Rebecca Poole” — Ash Ash
“That's nice to [know] Ash.” — Jackie Ballard
“Aww, thanks Ash!!” — Rebecca Poole
“Thanks Ash Clifford! Such a compliment! Hopefully a positive mentor. ;-)” — Rebecca Cuda
“Thanks, Ash.” — Lena Bath
EDITOR'S NOTE: Linda Childers is a freelance writer.
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Nursing students celebrate too

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By Linda Childers
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