Why did you choose UConn?
I chose UConn because of the recognition and reputation of the neonatal nursing program. The instructors in the program are world-renowned in neonatology for their contributions to the field. I chose UConn to learn and benefit from them, because I knew it would serve as a great foundation for me in my professional pursuit.
What’s your area of study and why did you choose it?
I will be graduating with my Master of Science in Nursing as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. I ventured into the world of neonatology as the result of the pre-term delivery of a family member. I remember how emotional those days were, and the support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff was instrumental in our coping. After that experience, I went to nursing school and was fortunate to be in the NICU for my senior practicum. I have worked in the NICU for the past eight years as a bedside nurse. I truly enjoy caring for these patients and their families and being with them as they go through a very difficult moment in their lives. I am passionate about my patients and I am always interested in how to improve their care and outcomes.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be working as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I am very excited for this opportunity to continue my learning and growth! After a few years of experience, I plan to pursue my doctorate with a research focus on health disparities in minority infants and children.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
UConn has provided me with the knowledge and skills that I need to be successful as neonatal nurse practitioner. Academically, I have been given the tools to think, critique, and analyze. I have also had amazing clinical experiences that helped me put theory into practice. My professors have been mentors to me during my program and I look forward to their continued support. My classmates have served as sources of inspiration and encouragement, and I am thankful that we were all able to go through our journey at UConn together.
What’s something you learned in a class that you’ll always remember?
Something that I learned in my Neonatal Nursing Theory course that I will always take with me is the lifelong impact of maternal nutrition, health, and wellbeing on the health of the child. Studies have shown that babies who had a restricted growth during fetal development have an increased risk of medical conditions later in life, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease! This really highlights the importance of optimizing maternal health to achieve the goal of having health babies who turn into healthy children and adults.
Any advice for incoming first-year students?
My advice would be to be open to trying new and positive experiences. We all have preconceived notions and expectations of how things should be, and this sometimes limits our growth. Allow yourself to try new things, take an elective class in something that interests you, make friends with people that come from different backgrounds and cultures, and you will be surprised by how much you benefit from them! I would also advise them to get involved in a student organization as a great way to network and build leadership skills.