Mapping out the profession: Nursing professor Q&A

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Jordyn Franklin/The Lion’s Roar

Nursing students complete activities in the lab. The nursing field covers a wide range of professions, from direct patient care to nursing informatics.

Nurses stand on the front lines of healthcare systems, providing patient care for the ill and injured. However, what lies behind the scenes may be unknown to some.

Ashley Bordelon, assistant director and professor of nursing, shared an insider’s perspective on the nursing field and all that it entails.

For those who are not familiar with the nursing field, how would you summarize what it entails?

“It’s a very diverse field. Even though you do have to have a degree and a licensure, the opportunities within the field itself can stem anything from direct patient contact at the bedside all the way to nursing informatics where you’re helping systems develop documentation.”

How has COVID-19 changed the landscape of the nursing field as a whole?

“From a nursing perspective at the bedside, I would say it has definitely required us to increase our judgment and critical thinking. I would be implied to say there’s been more changes from the preparation side of things—in the world of academia and how we’re teaching our future nurses. We had to be very innovative with instruction because a lot of things would normally be hands-on. We’ve had to find alternate ways to teach some of these same concepts virtually or remotely.”

 

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Direct patient care can come with its own set of challenges. How do nurses handle the stress of the job?

“Every nurse has to find what their outlet is. Self-care is very important. It is one of the things that we teach to students. Even in the workforce, it is reinforced. If we don’t care for ourselves, it’s very challenging to care for others. Self-care can be anything from praying, meditation, exercise and spending time with family and friends—just finding that outlet to decompress after working and putting that commitment into patient care.”

What sort of person do you think gravitates towards nursing? Is there a common thread anywhere?

“I would definitely say those who want to care for others. Care and compassion are certainly strong characteristics that a lot of nurses have given the line of work we’re in. A majority of nursing—while there are some aspects where you’re not dealing with patients directly—you’re dealing with either patients or people, so there is some level of care of compassion you see across the board.”

What advice would you give to students who are currently pursuing their dream of working in the nursing field?

“There’s so many things I would tell them. I do feel one of the things I say most commonly to most students is that this is not a job you do for the money. This is the job that you do because you love what you do. While some may pursue careers for dreams of big bank accounts and lots of financial awards, to me, this career is most rewarding to fulfill your heart. I would tell people who are pursuing a career in it to follow their heart and their dream because they can do anything they put their mind to. It is one that should be pursued because you love it, and it’s in your heart to do it.”

 

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