Upon entering college, each student must declare a major. It is a decision essentially made in the dark since most declare before taking a single major-related class. Some students stick with their initial choice until they graduate, but others change it at least one time to pursue a degree they deem more appropriate.
Sumner Brown was one of the many students that changed her major. Brown entered Auburn as a biomedical science major, hoping for a career in healthcare. She later transferred to pre-nursing.
“I eventually chose nursing because I knew that the strenuous demands of being a doctor were more than I wanted to handle. I wanted to be able to have a family and a career that provided lots of opportunities,” said Brown.
Brown graduated in December 2012, from Auburn’s nursing program.
“I am proud to be a graduate of Auburn’s nursing school and after graduating and working with many different people, I feel extremely prepared to be a nurse. During my clinical rotations, many people in the hospitals would say that Auburn students were by far the best group of nursing students,” said Brown.
Brown currently works at University of Alabama in Birmingham in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the nation’s largest NICU, and absolutely loves her job. Although her activities vary day to day, she typically feeds the babies, give them their medications and work closely with the doctors to deliver patient-centered care. Even though she starting night shifts soon, she continues to remain positive and grateful.
“On a daily basis, I find myself realizing how blessed I am. I think the best part of my job is helping the children that come to the RNICU and offering hope and comfort to their families,” said Brown.
Ashley Vukovich is just beginning her pre-nursing studies as an Auburn freshman this year. Unlike Brown, Vukovich rests assured that she will not have to change her major in the next four years.
“My dad is a doctor, so I am familiar with the medical field and it has always interested me. Last year, I went on a medical mission trip to Panama, and I really enjoyed tending to the people there. These experiences make me feel confident in the major I chose” said Vukovich.
Vukovich is excited about starting courses more closely related to her major, but is unaware of what to expect. Once she is accepted into a nursing program, she will face challenging coursework and time-consuming clinical rotations. Brown admits balancing the school work and rotations was difficult, but she is grateful they were required.
“Rotations allowed me to experience many different aspects of nursing which allowed me to decide what area of nursing I wanted to work in,” said Brown.
Even though both began on similar career paths, the next steps they will individually take will be different. Vukovich hopes to become a nurse anesthetist, but Brown has different goals.
“Right now, I’m enjoying learning what it takes to be a nurse in the real world. Once I get the hang of that I hope to further my education and become a CRNA or a nurse practitioner,” said Brown.