Picture this. Your alarm goes off at 5 a.m. You are tired from the day before, but you still get out of bed with
your patients in mind. You throw on your orange and blue scrubs, grab your book bag and head out the door. Your day is about taking care of others and preparing to be the best you can be on the day that you step out on your own. This is the life of an Auburn University nursing student.
"Auburn's nursing school, though very challenging, prepares us extremely well for when we become a nurse," explained Margo Edwards, an Auburn nursing student in her third semester of the program. "We know that once we graduate with an Auburn University School of Nursing degree that we will be great nurses."
Getting accepted into the School of Nursing is noteworthy in and of itself. To become a nursing student at Auburn, one must first maintain the pre-requisite grade minimum throughout the pre-nursing program, which makes up the first two years of a potential nursing student's college curriculum.
After making the grades necessary to apply, students go through an interview process. Two faculty members and one outside member of the community conduct the interview. Students are interviewed in groups of five.
Once accepted into the program, nursing school starts at the beginning of the next fall or spring semester. About halfway through the first semester, students begin clinical studies.
There are five semesters of nursing school at Auburn. During the first four semesters, students learn in the classroom and also applying what they are learning in class through clinical studies. The final semester of nursing school consists of each students' preceptorship, giving students a full semester of hands-on experience to prepare them for being a full-time nurse after graduation.
Nursing students participate in community clinicals, which include health promotion screenings and patient education on various topics. They also do hospital clinicals where they work as a team. It is at the hospital where students put into practice what they are learning in the classroom.
"My favorite part about nursing has been watching myself grow," said Edwards. "Finding out what I like and where I can see myself in the future is exciting."
Students don't just stay in Auburn for clinical studies. They also go to Montgomery, Alexander City, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Columbus, Georgia.
By gaining nursing experience in different places, the students are able to work with different patient pools. The students are exposed to a variety of conditions, making them better nurses for the future.
The third semester of nursing school is considered the halfway mark of the program. During the fourth semester, students take their exit exams and begin deciding where they can see themselves as a registered nurse.
"It's about setting goals for yourself and not stopping until you get there," said Edwards. "Graduation, of course, is our biggest goal."
Many Auburn men and women have felt the call to be a nurse and became a part of the Auburn University School of Nursing, which was established in 1979.
As stated on Auburn's website, the program prepares professional nurses to provide patient-centered, culturally competent, evidence-based care for diverse populations in a dynamic health care environment.
"Being a nurse is more than about just caring for someone," Edwards said. "It is about being there for a patient in a holistic sense, taking care of the patient, not just their diagnosis."
(Photo Credit / Top: Margo Edwards; Photo Credit / Bottom: cws.auburn.edu/nursing)
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