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MCPHS BSN student Brianna Cracco

Brianna Cracco, BSN, Looks to the Future

  • Brianna Cracco, BSN, looks to a very special person for her inspiration for becoming a nurse: her mom.

    “Since I can remember, I have been telling whoever would listen that I wanted to be a nurse just like my mom,” said Cracco. “She was the head nurse of the emergency room at our local hospital, and growing up I was immersed in a healthcare environment. I instantly gravitated toward nursing.”

    Now in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), Cracco is focused on gaining the experience and skills she will need in her future career as a nurse. She points out that the possibilities are endless.

    “The thing that surprised me the most about the nursing program was learning about all the possible pathways nurses have available to them once they graduate,” said Cracco. “During my classes, professors talk about the different nursing pathways that they have taken. That gives us nursing students a glimpse of all of the opportunities we have in our field.”

    In our interview, Cracco shares insight into her program, including how using manikins in the nursing simulation lab is helping her prepare for her upcoming clinical rotations.

    What is your dream career?

    For me personally, I have so many ideas for my career after school that it’s hard to choose just one! I hope to stay in Boston and gain vital experience at any of the amazing hospitals in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. I hope to be able to pursue becoming a family nurse practitioner. Once I earn my Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner, I would love to work with the LGBTQ+ community to help ensure that everyone receives inclusive healthcare.

    What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone considering earning a BSN?

    My biggest piece of advice for someone considering earning a BSN is to use all the awesome academic resources at MCPHS. Nursing is a great field to get into, and the opportunities are endless once you complete your degree, but it isn’t a walk in the park. Luckily, on campus we have so many resources available through the Center for Academic Success and Enrichment (CASE). Upon starting at MCPHS, all students are assigned a “MAC” team, which includes a faculty mentor, an academic advisor, and a student success coach. Along with the MAC team, the university provides free peer tutoring and supplemental instruction outside class.

    Tell us about your professors.

    In the School of Nursing, our professors are always there to answer any questions that students may have. Most of the professors are either still working in the field or continuing their education. They are not only bringing current experiences into our classroom discussions, but they can also relate to us as students.

    Tell us about your favorite class you’ve taken so far at MCPHS. Why did you love it?

    My favorite course at MCPHS that I have taken so far was my Fundamentals of Nursing class, taught by Professor Whitfield and Professor McManus. Fundamentals of Nursing discusses the core principles of nursing, not only the hands-on aspect but also patient interactions. I loved how it was one of the most helpful and essential classes, and I know I will carry what I learned with me when practicing in the field.

    What is it like to be a part of the MCPHS community?

    My favorite thing about the MCPHS community is the amazing environment on campus! While on campus you get a small-school environment where you get to know and develop relationships with many students and faculty, but when you walk out the door you are in the center of all things healthcare. Boston is such a wonderful place to be, and just one of the many reasons I attend MCPHS!

    Are you involved in extracurricular activities on campus?

    On campus, I work in the Admission Office as a Brain Cell. As a Brain Cell, my job is to show prospective students and their families the benefits of an MCPHS education and be a liaison between prospective students and MCPHS. I’m also involved with NSNA [the National Student Nursing Association] and Habitat for Humanity, and I am a member of the executive board of GASA. GASA is our school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Over spring break, other members of Habitat for Humanity and I are fortunate enough to be going to work on a build all the way in Mississippi! There are so many opportunities for students to get involved with professional and philanthropic organizations here at MCPHS – and whatever interests them most!

    Tell us about the facilities on Boston campus. What are the labs that you use like?

    On the Boston campus the nursing students use the nursing simulation lab. When you set foot in the lab it is just like you are walking onto a hospital floor. There are simulation manikins that act like real patients. The mannequins have pulses and some can even talk to you! The simulation manikins can be changed by the lab instructors to fit whatever we are learning in class, whether it be wound care or labor and delivery. They give us nursing students a glimpse of what it’s going to be like when we are on the hospital floor during our clinical rotations.

    What is it like to study and learn alongside students from other health sciences programs?

    Studying at MCPHS, you get to meet so many people with different majors across the health sciences field. The unique thing about MCPHS is that you can be studying somewhere on campus and turn to the person next to you and ask them a question, because odds are that they probably learned about it before and can give you a different perspective on the topic. It’s one of the reasons I recommend an MCPHS education. The health sciences environment gives students an extra edge when looking to start their careers.

    Why is interprofessional experience and education so important as you prepare for your future career as a nurse?

    At MCPHS, we really like to emulate the team dynamic that is becoming the standard in healthcare. Students from all the programs work together to help one another. For example, in my first year, students in my Introduction to the Major class were given an assignment to see what it’s like to adhere to a medication regimen. We had to go the pharmacy lab and get our prescriptions filled by students who were practicing as pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. The pharmacy and nursing students worked hand in hand, just like they would in the healthcare field.

    What’s your favorite #MCPHSmoment?

    My favorite #MCPHSmoment would have to be my White Coat Ceremony this past January. The White Coat Ceremony acknowledges the hard work we’ve put in and the hard work yet to come for the nursing students who are progressing into their professional nursing phase. For me personally, the White Coat Ceremony marked the halfway point of my college career, and it showed me how quickly it goes by!

    The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program offers an immersive education that prepares students for an exciting career as a registered nurse.