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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

No More Tears, Just Cheers

Anyone on Facebook or other social media platforms are well aware that “memories” pop up each and every day. Usually, I look at those with fondness, but earlier this week the "memory pop up" was a picture of my then-senior daughter and several of her basketball teammates sitting on a bench. She had tears streaming down her cheeks as it was their last home game together.

The last four years have flown by, and somehow, these high school seniors are now college seniors with only a couple months before commencement. These past four years have provided experiences beyond just turning 21 and being able to legally purchase a cocktail. Real life and entering adulthood with “big girl” jobs is just around the corner.

The final chapter of my daughter, Haley’s, college years is that of her senior capstone. Ultimately, Haley will graduate with a bachelor’s in science of Nursing with a minor in Psychology. To prepare for her capstone, she had to request a specific facility or department to be placed in and one that would help guide her through future decisions. Last week she opened the email detailing her “match,” and she was beyond excited to get exactly what she asked for.

Originally, Haley wanted to pursue a psychology degree, but was unsure of the job opportunity rate for someone with only that degree. With the help of a high school teacher, she came to the conclusion that her passion lay in working directly with patients but also wanted to make an impact in the lives of those suffering addiction struggles and mood disorders. Growing up, Haley experienced first-hand how these exact struggles can affect families. She attributes the recovery to the nurses and doctors working hand-in-hand through their toughest times.

Once she began her nursing program, Haley states, “I knew nursing was my calling. I have the ability to care for those that are going through tough times, be their support and also advocate for their health. Mental illness and addiction continue to have a stigma surrounding them, and I want to be someone who can continue to break those barriers down and create awareness. I do not feel there are enough mental illness healthcare resources, so if I can offer insight, advice and care through my own life experiences and education, that is better than people feeling alone or as if there is no one around to help them.”

Throughout the clinical experiences, two stand out as favorites. The psych clinical, although virtual due to Covid-19, allowed her to experience simulations in assessing, diagnosing, intervening, and treating patients with bipolar disease, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders. For in-person, Labor & Delivery stood out as she was able to see natural births and cesarian sections. She states, “while I have witnessed two natural births with family members, this allowed me to see the nursing side and how much involvement there truly was.”

Of course, there was a least favorite clinical as well, and that was gerontology. Although she had been working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for the past three years and was enjoying it, this clinical made her realize gerontology was not a specialty she wanted to pursue upon graduation.

Haley has put much thought in her future and shared, “I am hoping to get a job in the mental health field as a Psychiatric Nurse. My hope is to work with a variety of patients with different mental illnesses, mood disorders, addictions or in need of acute care. I am hoping my capstone in this area will confirm how I feel, and I am excited for the opportunity.”

Haley, and her fellow teammates, have come a long way from that social media memory, and as they enter adulthood, no matter what they have chosen to pursue, the world will be a better place through their efforts.

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