Photo: Pegah Shahbazi, left, and Teresa Kyaw.
Clinical experience is an important step towards earning a nursing degree and ultimately landing a job. Two NYIT student nurses received experience and so much more as participants of the Margaret Whitehorne Student Nurse Service Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.
Pegah Shahbazi and Teresa Kyaw, both nursing majors, took part in the program this past summer. The students worked under the supervision of a registered nurse and were required to volunteer more than 100 hours. This program differs from usual clinical rotations in that students are much more involved in patient care. “Since this was a public hospital, they allowed us to be more hands on. We were able to apply evidenced based practice from our background in nursing research and the knowledge we have accumulated at our clinical rotations,” said Shahbazi who worked in the Trauma ICU.
Many of the people Shahbazi treated were prisoners from Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail complex, as well as homeless and geriatric patients. Kyaw, who was in the Surgical ICU, worked on critical cases such as suicide attempts and victims of violence. “We performed physical head to toe assessments on our patients, took their vital signs, gave them medications, including IV medications, took their blood glucose levels and provided palliative care [specialized medical care for people with serious illness that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness],” explained Shahbazi. “Some students also witnessed open heart surgery starting right out of the ambulance and into the trauma slot.”
At the end of the program, they walked away with real-world nursing experience that increased their knowledge base and will help enhance their résumés.
Shahbazi credits NYIT and its faculty members for readying her and Kyaw for such an intense program. “NYIT truly helped prepare us,” she said. “Because of Dr. Susan Neville, our chairperson and professor, we will never forget the laboratory values that we’ve had to memorize or how to perform elaborate physical assessments. And thanks to Professor Donna Darcy, remembering all the kinds of medications has become second nature.”
Kyaw agreed, adding, “This opportunity would not have been possible to us if it weren’t for Dr. Mary Frances McGibbon. She went out of her way to make sure we had all of our documentation in on time.”
The students also took a 12-hour EKG course; upon completion, they received a certificate that allows them to interpret EKG charts.
Kyaw said this experience helped her gain more confidence and a sense of where she could see herself a year from now. “My ultimate goal in all this was not merely to put something on my résumé, but also to really test myself and prepare myself to be the most caring and educated nurse that I can possibly become.”