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The first thing I did when I submitted my last assignment during the winter session was to read a book, I miss reading so much during the semester. The reason I cannot read for pleasure during the semesters is that I always have things to read that I have to read, so if I have time to read my mind tells me that I should read things related to the courses that I am taking. This time I read a book called A Little Life, by Yanagihara, and it was sad but really, really good—I can highly recommend it. After that I read a bunch of Swedish mysteries that people visiting from Sweden had brought me over the course of the semester, which was truly nice.

Back to reality, I just started my last semester at CUNY SPS, and I am hoping to have my Bachelor’s degree in May. Hard to believe that I am actually seeing the light in the tunnel. I am taking my Capstone, and two other courses. I am not, as of right now, 100% sure what a Capstone course is but I guess I will find out. I have been assigned to my clinical site, which is where I did my clinical hours for the Community Nursing class that I took last semester. I am happy about this because I really like my clinical site person, she is great, so I am kind of dreading and kind of looking forward, and will keep you posted on how it is going and how I feel about it. I am taking two more classes, 11 credits all together while working full time and having my family that I have to tend to—it will be a tough semester I guess. I just have to make myself do it, and do the work I need to do, and know that it will benefit me for the rest of my life to have my BSN.

I had an issue when signing up for classes. My advisor told me that I need a US Experience course that I was not aware of. I made a plan when I went to meet with her when I first started at SPS, and that course was not mentioned then. If I would have known, I would have taken it already. So, this one came out of the blue, 3 extra credits that I need to take on this semester. Yet, I am very happy I double checked because I would not have been able to graduate without it. Still, I am a little upset, and feel that I was wrongly informed. But what can I do about that? Nothing really. I just have to do it. I guess that is what this study-as-an-adult is all about, setting your mind to it and “just do it.”

Happy Start of the Semester Everyone.

And, if you are still deciding if you are going to get started at SPS, “just do it!”

Charlotte

Charlotte Wahlquist is from Sweden. She is a graduate of BMCC and is now a Registered Nurse as of January of this year. In addition to working as a full-time nurse she is enrolled in the online RN to BSN program at CUNY SPS and is a recipient of the ACE Scholarship. Shortly after Charlotte moved to New York, seven years ago, she took a giant leap of faith and went back to school. With her five children, and an impenetrable drive to make her dreams come true—she hit the send button on her CUNY application. The time since that life-altering push of the button has been spent with many early and late hours being a single working mom, a student, and a person wishing for more hours in the day. There have been many challenges that have threatened to pull her off track; however, having her son asking to sit down next to her one night, and work on his homework next to her while she studied made her realize that she had embarked on something much larger than herself.

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I am sitting here procrastinating, my life has been “busy” [understatement] lately. I am trying to juggle work, my daughter applying to college, another daughter applying to high school in New York City, school, and life in general–you know food, sleep, cleaning, exercise, etc… I keep thinking this too shall pass, knowing that I will graduate with my BSN in May next year! Can’t wait!

AND, as I am thinking this I sign up for an information session about a master in nursing, online, here at CUNY SPS… Have I gone mad? More school? Well, I want a master’s degree, might as well do it directly, and it never hurts to check it out… I guess my instinct/drive is to continue to grow, learn more and develop myself continuously, but please life, “give me a break!” Maybe I should just realize that I will never be done, I will always be on my way to the next goal–maybe that is life. I look forward to just reading a regular book, or lazily watching TV without feeling bad and knowing I should be doing something else. This is what I am thinking about now when I should be writing my paper :).

Other than that, it is getting cold out. I kind of like it and I kind of dread winter.

I am going to Sweden next week, to see my parents and my sister, I look forward to that a lot. While I am there I am also going to take the Swedish “board exam” for nursing, in order to get a Swedish nursing license as well. I am thinking to do it now, when I  have nursing school somewhat fresh in mind, and why not do it? We will never know where life will take us, maybe one day I will need to be able to work in Sweden, or I will want to. My secret plan is to gain as much experience as possible, as quickly as possible, while my kids are still in school. The minute they are all gone I aim to go do non-for-profit work in remote countries where healthcare can’t be taken for granted, and I will be able to make a bigger difference in someone’s life–someone who is in desperate need and who does not have access around the corner.

Until the next post…

Lotta

Charlotte Wahlquist is from Sweden. She is a graduate of BMCC and is now a Registered Nurse as of January of this year. In addition to working as a full-time nurse she is enrolled in the online RN to BSN program at CUNY SPS and is a recipient of the ACE Scholarship. Shortly after Charlotte moved to New York, seven years ago, she took a giant leap of faith and went back to school. With her five children, and an impenetrable drive to make her dreams come true—she hit the send button on her CUNY application. The time since that life-altering push of the button has been spent with many early and late hours being a single working mom, a student, and a person wishing for more hours in the day. There have been many challenges that have threatened to pull her off track; however, having her son asking to sit down next to her one night, and work on his homework next to her while she studied made her realize that she had embarked on something much larger than herself.

…in my defense I did ask for an extension already early last week, since I knew I was going to be working 4 night shifts and I had a lot of other homework due. The professors are usually very nice about it, if you give notice ahead of time. I know it is easy to fall behind and it is good to have those deadlines, but I am also an adult student and sometimes life happens and there is no way that I can wrap my head around finishing all the work on time. That being said, I do all my work, and I put effort into all I do! A couple of times, of course, I sit at my break at work on a Sunday night posting to the discussion board while half asleep and when I open up Blackboard on the Monday morning, I do not dare to look what I actually wrote, though it does not happen a lot.

I started my journey towards becoming an RN in fall of 2013—4 years ago. One of my biggest obstacles to climb was to actually apply. I had a hard time figuring out how to do things, and on top of that I needed to have all my Swedish transcripts translated and sent in sealed envelopes from the Swedish institution to BMCC. I was excited when I got accepted to start in January of 2014, I bought a backpack and was off to school.

The first week I cried every day. Every time I came to school I needed a new paper, or a form needed to be filled out, and I was sent from the Bursar’s office to the Financial Aid office to the Registrar’s office. I once needed an electrical bill dated from August or July, and I had brought the latest from September and had to turn back home to get the correct one, just to get on that same line the day after and being told that I needed to show it somewhere else. It was a complete disaster.

I was born and raised in Sweden where pretty much everything is filed online and different institutions have access to your verified information from other institutions, and they keep track of your address and they know your grades—no papers are needed. My Swedish transcript looks like a print out from a Commodore 64, an ancient type of computer that has papers with holes on the side that you have to detach after you have printed (click to see a picture) and then BMCC demanded that the principal of the University I attended in Sweden should sign my transcript, stamp it, put it in an envelope, seal it, stamp it again, write his/her signature, tape it shut and send it to BMCC. That is NOT how we do it in Sweden. There they look in the centralized computer system and can see my academic record, (probably since 1st grade). It took a lot of phone calls and sending of stamps that would cover overseas shipping and patience to make that happen—blood, sweat and tears. Finally I got in and started taking my prerequisites needed for me to apply into the nursing program. The first semester I took Biology, Chemistry, Math for Nurses, Psychology and English, because I was in a hurry. I finished my “prereq’s” in one year (using summer semesters to squeeze it all in), and I got my 4.0 GPA that was required to be able to take the test and do the interview that would put me in the nursing program. And, in December of 2014, Mr Sierra, head of BMCC nursing program called me and said that I had gotten admitted…. to be continued. Good night.

Charlotte Wahlquist is from Sweden. She is a graduate of BMCC and is now a Registered Nurse as of January of this year. In addition to working as a full-time nurse she is enrolled in the online RN to BSN program at CUNY SPS and is a recipient of the ACE Scholarship. Shortly after Charlotte moved to New York, seven years ago, she took a giant leap of faith and went back to school. With her five children, and an impenetrable drive to make her dreams come true—she hit the send button on her CUNY application. The time since that life-altering push of the button has been spent with many early and late hours being a single working mom, a student, and a person wishing for more hours in the day. There have been many challenges that have threatened to pull her off track; however, having her son asking to sit down next to her one night, and work on his homework next to her while she studied made her realize that she had embarked on something much larger than herself.

This post was written by Tenzin Lekshay, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

We all know too well how important education is. Education enlightens us, provides us with knowledge, and helps us to realize the careers that we dream of. However, education to me is more than that. To me, education is a privilege. There are millions of people, especially children, around the world who do not have the opportunity to go to school. I am a Tibetan refugee, born and raised in India, but I was fortunate enough to go to one of the best and largest Tibetan schools in India. Not every Tibetan refugee children had been as fortunate as me. Therefore, I do not take education for granted. I take the opportunity as a responsibility too. I am always grateful for any opportunity that allows me to be back in school. I make sure that I work hard and get good grades, not just for my GPA, but also to fulfill the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being in school and receiving education.

When I first came to the U.S. I wanted to go to back to school and get a degree in Nursing. I wanted to become a nurse because I believed that it is one of the very few professions that can provide not only joy and satisfaction, but also purpose and meaning to your life. Nursing, to me, is not just a job, it is also a medium through which I can fulfill my spiritual values and beliefs.

I found out that CUNY provides nursing programs in its community colleges, and I could avail financial aid to help with my tuition. I enrolled in LaGuardia Community College nursing program, and completed my Associate’s degree in Nursing in 2014, finishing with the highest GPA in my batch. After graduating from LaGuardia Community College, I got accepted into Hunter and CUNY School of Professional Studies BSN program. However, I chose SPS over Hunter college, without any hesitation, since SPS is an online school, allows for flexibility with time management, and SPS’s Nursing directors had earlier come to LaGuardia to talk about the BSN program. I thought SPS was the right school for me.

Once I started my BSN classes at SPS, I realized that I had made the right decision. The staff in the registrar’s office, the financial aid staff, my advisor, and most important of all, the nursing department professors and director were incredibly supportive and helpful. I’ve been to different colleges in India, and here in the U.S, but, the administration and staff, and professors here in SPS are way more supportive and helpful than any other college I’ve been to. The quality of education provided here is excellent.

To make my BSN program even better, I was accepted as an ACE Scholarship one year into my BSN program. The ACE Scholarship helped pay my entire tuition fee for the remaining semesters of my BSN program. Since I’ve started working, I knew that I wouldn’t be eligible for financial aid, and would have to pay the tuition fees out of my own pocket. However, the ACE Scholarship came along, and helped alleviate my financial concerns. The only thing that ACE Scholarship program asked in return was to mentor two new students (nursing) who had just joined SPS. I was a school teacher when I lived in India, and I mentored nursing students when I was in LaGuardia Community College. Furthermore, I have always been forthcoming, and volunteered to help others. Mentoring comes as second nature to me. So, it was not an uphill or a new task for me to be a mentor to new students. Mentoring also provided me with the opportunity to meet and interact with new students.

I will be graduating from CUNY SPS with BSN degree this month. I feel blessed, and very fortunate to get the opportunity to continue my education, to be a student of SPS, and to receive the ACE Scholarship when I needed help the most. I’ve had the most rewarding and fulfilling two years of my life being a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies. I am forever grateful to SPS including my professors, the staff at SPS, and Mr. Alan Fishman, who established and provided funds for the ACE Scholarship.

Tenzion Lekshay is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). He will graduate from the Nursing degree program tonight.

Dear Journal,

In this line of work, it is not that hard to consider coworkers as close friends since they also fight that same fight each shift next to you.  And just like when patients come and go on the job, so do fellow nurses you will always remember working with, even after they have gone on to do other, better things.  Here is an ode to you all out there in the greater expanse, to whom others have so depended on (to the previous members of our “A” Team):

I got you…I got you…

at work a dear friend is moving on

like the everyday shifting of a vagabond

taking with it a continent of years of routine

to the motto of: “I swim, You swim. You swim, I swim” until the waters we fight through are clear and pristine

one last time I’ll pass your meds, you take the MD orders. Will be hard to see choppy waters

not the same feelings the next time around me it gathers

no more that one to dare me further, as that feeling of my strength starts to weaken

to another shift with no break, no time to eat and…

so here’s another thought for you to take on the road

put your worries down for more than a while

and I, rescuer of short shifts, will share your load

while incessant insults jokingly, at you, will be thrown in exchange for a laugh and a smile

—Inah Castro

Inah Castro has been a practicing nurse since 2009. She first started out as an LPN and is currently attending CUNY SPS for her BS in nursing. She is bicoastal, as she is licensed in California as well as New York, and has over the years worked on both ends of the country. Inah enjoys writing, cooking, and boxing/kickboxing. 

Peter Magri is a student in our new online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing program. He explains why he enrolled here at CUNY SPS and what he expects to gain from his degree.

Peter Magri

1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

CUNY SPS offered the sense of continuity for me within the CUNY system since I had recently graduated from the Nursing Program at Queensborough Community College. I had come to trust the faculty at QCC and thought that it would be a good fit. I also was happy to hear that SPS used BlackBoard, which was also used at QCC, so the online demographic would be easy to fit into.

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

I would really like to land a job as a nurse. I have been on so many interviews and have applied to countless jobs and have yet to be hired in a hospital. I would like to get into critical care or the fast pace of a busy ER to really prove my skill sets to myself and those from nursing school.

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

I have definitely broadened my assessment techniques and understand the body and how it works because of the Pathophysiology class I took. I also have learned so much about culture and teaching and how important it is to incorporate a patient’s culture in the plan of care.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

APPLY! I am so glad I did. The faculty are warm and are always there to assist you through anything that may concern you. You may feel that since it is an online program that you would get lost in the shuffle, but there is nothing further from the truth. They’re there with you every step of the way.

We also asked Peter a few fun questions about his life and his studies.

1. Place of residence: Franklin Square, New York.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: NURS301-Assessment.

3. Weirdest place you have studied: Oh God…really??? OK—the toilet.

4. Your favorite music to play while studying: I actually don’t like to listen to music while I study; I like to have CNN on in the background.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: It’s close to Manhattan and my parents live just down the block from me! Always get great home-cooked meals!

Thank you, Peter, for bringing such a positive attitude about online learning and a passion for the field of nursing to your work here at CUNY SPS!

Cami Dreyer is a student in our online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (R.N. to B.S. in Nursing) program. She shares her motivations for achieving her educational and professional goals.

Cami Dreyer, Online Nursing student at CUNY SPS

1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

This past summer I received my AAS is in nursing and achieved my dream of becoming an RN. While in that program, I was notified about a new, fully online RN to BSN program at CUNY SPS. I knew this would give me the freedom to job hunt and enter the workforce while continuing to work towards the coveted BSN that is now required by most hospitals. I had heard great things about SPS, so I decided to make the leap!

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

Quite simply, to achieve my Bachelors of Applied Science in Nursing!

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

Even though it has only been a little over a month, I have already grown so much! Learning here at SPS goes beyond knowledge and comprehension. SPS is pushing me to apply, analyze, and evaluate the material I learn. In addition, my writing abilities and my sense of how to approach assignments has greatly improved.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

If you have other responsibilities, start slow with one or two classes to get the feel for the online format. If you are self-motivated, do IT! You won’t regret it.

Cami also shares some fun facts about her life.

1. Place of residence: Park Slope, Brooklyn.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: Physical Assessment.

3. Weirdest place you have studied: While walking through a street fair.

4. Your favorite music to play while studying: Classical.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: Diversity.

Thank you for sharing all of this with us, Cami. Can you give us your best tip on how to study while walking?

Alexandra Chang is a student in our online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (R.N. to B.S. in Nursing) program. She shares some of thoughts about her future as a nurse.

Alexandra Chang is a student in our online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (R.N. to B.S. in Nursing) program
1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

My brain kicks in at the strangest times 9pm, 12am… 2:37 pm and 47 seconds – rarely when other “normal” humans go to school. I appreciate that I can work when my brain is most active; my work is of better quality and more enjoyable to complete. Also, it gives me the flexibility to work any schedule.

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

I aspire to be a traveling Trauma Registered Nurse. CUNY SPS gives me the opportunity to be more marketable to employers because I can work any shift and location. Because it’s online, I may even be able to start taking travel assignments before actually graduating from the program.

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

I rave about my studies—I’m not even joking. The research required for SPS allows me to learn about topics that I’m not only interested in, but can apply to my career TODAY! I find myself sharing what I’ve learned with my colleagues and patients all the time. CUNY SPS has made me more competent in my career.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

While I find the research refreshing, it definitely requires time and commitment. If you’re the kind of self-motivating person who does independent research “for fun,” then CUNY SPS should be the perfect fit.

Alexandra also shares some fun facts about her life.

1. Place of residence: Harlem.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: NURS301 (so far).

3. Weirdest place you have studied: Tattoo Parlor.

4. Your favorite music to play while studying: Trip Hop.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: Everyone belongs.

You studied in a tattoo parlor! That’s too funny. Our only follow up question is whether or not you were getting a tattoo while studying?

Dr. Eileene Shake is a professor in our new BA in Nursing online degree program. Dr. Shake shares her own experiences as a nurse and some advice for her current students.

Dr. Eileene Shake

 

1. How is your semester going so far? Any major surprises?

No major surprises. I enjoy teaching online. I was one of the early online education adopter at University of South Carolina and have been teaching online courses on the graduate and undergraduate levels for six years, so this is nothing new to me.

2. Can you identify one piece of technology (whether real or fictitious) or policy that would completely change the face of the nursing profession?

I would love to see a platform that engages and encourages more nursing research faculty and nursing PhD holders to teach online. Many nursing research faculty believe that nothing can replace the face-to-face classroom experience, so they’ll need a system that’s more user-friendly, interactive, and personable to entice them to teach online.

3. As with all nurses, I’m sure you encountered some interesting situations and people while in the field. What’s you “I cannot believe that just happened” story?

It seems like just yesterday, September 2011. I was a nurse educator at the University of South Carolina and the Director of the USC Center for Nursing Leadership. We had just submitted our application to the Campaign for Action to become the South Carolina One Voice One Plan Future of Nursing Action Coalition and were waiting to hear if we would be chosen. Representing the USC Center for Nursing Leadership, I would be one of the two Co-leaders for the Action Coalition if we were accepted.

I, like other nurse leaders, wanted to play a key role in implementing the transformative Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations so that we could improve both access to health care services and the quality of health care being delivered. Fast-forward to October 2014, and I can’t believe what has happened! Three years have passed and I have worked in four roles that focus on various Campaigns for Action initiatives to implement the recommendations to lead change and advance health. During this time, I also continued to work as a nurse educator, presented at conferences, and developed and taught various nursing leadership courses.

I can’t believe what I learned over the past three years! Nurses are the most trusted professionals according to national polls and they are well prepared to serve in leadership roles to transform health care. However, there is still work left to do as nurses have not been seen as leaders who can serve on hospital, state, and federal boards. Therefore, I will continue to work on initiatives to implement the IOM Future of Nursing recommendations, and support current and future nurse leaders who aspire to run for these leadership appointments.

4. Do you ever miss wearing scrubs?

I never wore scrubs much, but I certainly miss being on the front line and having personal experiences with patients.

5. What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to nursing students?

I encourage my students to recognize the importance of their ideas and the impact that they have of the future of the health care system in this country. Many of them don’t realize the role that they play within the nursing community. I love helping students grow and reinforce that the profession is much more than just memorizing content. When they graduate from their programs, I want them to feel ready and comfortable with sharing their ideas, regardless of where they go or what they do.

Dr. Shake also shares some fun facts about her life.

1. Favorite article of fall clothing: A sweater.

2. Best song or artist to listen to after a long day: Enya.

3. What you’re reading right now: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

4. Best BBQ – North or South Carolina: North Carolina.

5. Last time you laughed so hard you cried: Whenever I think about some of the things my grandchildren say. There are 7 of them, ages 5 to 20 years old.

6. First thing that comes to mind when you think of NYC: Plays. The theatre.

We look forward to learning more about the nursing profession through the wealth of experience and expertise you bring to CUNY SPS.