Remember what the first day of school felt like? If you were going back to the same school with friends from the previous year, it likely meant catching up on the gossip of the summer, comparing new school supplies, making plans for play dates and ball games and easing back into familiar routines with your group of friends in the cafeteria and on the playground.
But what if you were the new kid? The scene was entirely different as you tried to navigate your way through unknown hallways with new teachers, unfamiliar faces and new ways of doing things. Whether your new school was across the country or across town, your world was rocked, and you had to find your place and make new friends.
The dozens of student nurses, respiratory therapists and other future health care professionals who come to UAMS as part of their training all feel this same way. They’re searching for their place and their new friends, just like on the first day of school.
Please make an effort to welcome them all to UAMS. Share the things you like about the culture at UAMS, the benefits you enjoy, show them around, introduce them to your team, and make them feel welcome. The staffing shortages we are facing today are likely to get worse in the coming decades as our population ages. Also, after 20 years of growth, this year the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported a 1.4% decrease in the number of students in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs across the United States. The problem isn’t that young people don’t want to be nurses – the issue is a shortage of faculty and clinical training sites.
Welcoming and helping these students is the right thing to do, but we also need to make sure they have a favorable impression of UAMS and want to return here when they begin their job search.
Exposure to nursing at UAMS often begins with job shadowing. This is a great way to begin a student’s journey toward a career here. If you know a student age 18 or older who would like to shadow a nurse, provide their contact information.
We’ve all been students and remember those first uneasy days. Let’s work together to make a lasting good impression of UAMS so today’s students will be our colleagues tomorrow.
Don’t forget to Click here to send me an email to share your thoughts.
Cynthia Brown, MNSc, RN, NE-BC
Favorite thing to eat at UAMS: Cappuccino muffins!!
Special Talent: I like to sing
Favorite team: Razorbacks, of course
Pizza or Burger: Pizza every time
Senior Nursing Director Cynthia Brown, MNSc, RN, NE-BC, is responsible for nursing in the musculoskeletal service line, the neurosciences service line and The Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital. She has worked at UAMS for 11 years.
Cynthia’s first job at UAMS was as a PCT in the NICU, and it was here that she experienced her first patient death. “I’ll always remember that,” she said. “It wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. As a new (young) nurse, I felt good that I was able to hold the baby because the mother could not get here in time.”
She and her husband of 37 years have grown children, and her brush with greatness was dining in the same restaurant as Sylvester Stallone.
“I wanted to be a nurse when I was in high school,” she said. “I love caring for people and helping them get cared for. I like mentoring others to do the same.” The thing she misses about bedside nursing is thankful patients.
Ray Smith, BS, RRT
Favorite thing to eat at UAMS: Breakfast burrito
Books or Movies: Any of the Mission Impossible movies
Favorite food splurge: Homemade cinnamon rolls
Favorite Team: New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team
Football or Basketball: Arkansas Razorbacks
Ray Smith, BS, RRT, is the Director of Respiratory Care Services and a native of Smackover. He joined UAMS four years ago as a respiratory therapist and enjoys having the opportunity to work alongside front-line staff to provide direct patient care in his managerial role.
His wife is a nurse, and they have two daughters. The oldest will be a freshman in college, continuing her love of sports by playing collegiate volleyball. Their younger daughter also plays volleyball and will be a senior in high school this fall.
“Several years ago, I took care of a patient who didn’t have family that visited her,” he said. “She loved to talk to me and share stories when I came by her room to administer her treatments and place her on BiPAP for the night. I enjoyed listening and talking to her. Her nurses told me that she would ask if Ray was going to be her respiratory therapist on shifts when I wasn’t assigned to her floor. She transitioned several weeks later, but I will always remember her.”