Alumni Spotlight: Laura Stanton, BSN
Discover the moment Laura knew she was ready to be a nurse.
For Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) graduate Laura Stanton, BSN, it all started with a volunteer medical trip to the Dominican Republic when she was a teenager. As she worked with seasoned doctors and nurses, she was inspired by their dedication for providing compassionate care to a community in need.
Laura went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Community Health and her Certified Nursing Assistant license. As an aid, she worked alongside talented nurses, and discovered her true passion and talent for caring for others.
She was ready to provide more comprehensive care to her patients, so she took the next step to further her education: becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). The Fast Track BSN program at MCPHS–Worcester was the perfect choice for Laura, because as she puts it, the accelerated program “would help me reach my dream of being a nurse the quickest”.
During her time at MCPHS, Laura made her mark on campus and in her community. She served as a member of Nursing Students Without Borders, volunteering at the Hope Lodge in Worcester, which is part of the American Cancer Society and provides housing to those undergoing treatment.
Among Laura’s greatest experiences at MCPHS? Completing her final clinical rotation at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In this Clinical Spotlight, Laura shares the inside scoop on her clinical experience and how being a lifelong learner has helped her to become a devoted nurse.
What did it mean to you to complete your final clinical rotation at Massachusetts General Hospital?
It was a great honor and privilege to be able to complete my final clinical rotation as well as my pediatric rotation at this institute. Every day I had a great day; each staff member I interacted with was willing to teach me and support me.
You completed your clinical rotation on the eight floor of the White building. Tell us about your experience.
I had the most incredible clinical experience. Every shift in the morning, I received a report on my two patients. I provided total care, which included ADLs and administering medications. I worked closely with different nurses every day, including the respiratory team and the medical team.
What type of floor were you working on?
The floor that I worked on was a general medicine floor. Typically these types of floors will have non-ICU level care. This can range from renal and liver failure, infections, uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension, syncope, dehydration and medical work ups aiming to rule out certain conditions. Many patients come up from the Emergency Department or are transferred down from an ICU. I took care of patients on hemodialysis, cellulitis, pneumonia, COPD exacerbation, as well as patients with cancer, nasogastric tubes, tracheostomies, and various infections.
I was able to assist with admissions to the floor and discharge education. The patients I took care of each day varied which allowed me to get experience with a wide range of patient profiles.
What was your day-to-day experience like?
When I walked into the hospital, the floor that I worked on was warm, bright, and welcoming. My nursing preceptor was in charge of recruiting and carrying out research for her specialty and I was able to see recruitment for research studies. I was able to interact with a number of different staff teams, where each member was happy to educate me and explain to me their role in the patient’s care. I was easily able to find the resources I needed. I also had the opportunity to go with my patients to the Hemodialysis unit and watch a CT scan.
How did this clinical allow you to apply the skills you have gained at MCPHS?
This clinical allowed me to pull together and apply all of the skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my MCPHS experience and put them into practice. The classroom and lab prepared us with real world cases where we were able to critically think and apply what we knew. Although at times skills were difficult to practice in the lab, it made them much easier to perform when it came to the real practice setting.
Tell us about one of the most significant parts of your clinical experience.
The most significant experience came at the very end of my clinical experience. I had an active last day! As patient needs for care arose, I was able to meet those needs and bring my concerns to my clinical instructor or the nurse I was working with. And, when I didn’t know something, I was able to find an appropriate answer.
After I comforted and supported a distraught patient, one of the nurses I was working with complimented me on my communications skills. I felt like, “I got this”. As the shift came to an end, I didn’t want to go home. I finally felt confident and comfortable that I could do this.
That must have been such a wonderful feeling.
Although I don’t know everything, I know that I now have the tools and the abilities to provide comprehensive care to my patients. After all of the hours spent studying, in the lab, and working in clinical, I have accumulated all the skills necessary to become a great nurse.
What has your final clinical showed you?
That I can be the nurse that I always wanted to be. Through the knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout this rotation, I have learned that I am not always going to know everything, and there is always a chance for new knowledge and growth, especially as technology and practice evolves over time.
Nurses are lifelong learners. It is critical in nursing to constantly expand our knowledge. As I discovered things I didn’t know, I was able to find and apply the correct resources to enhance my care.
Even after all of this schooling, every day is a learning experience. I expect to always be learning and growing. Know what you know – and know what you don’t know. A love of learning and the passion for patient care is extremely important and has shaped the kind of devoted nurse that I am becoming.
What was your biggest takeaway?
A positive attitude and a desire to learn can go a long way! I worked on a great floor with incredible nurses who had variety of backgrounds and experiences. They gave me a lot of support and advice. They remembered their days as students and new graduates. They told me that it’s not going to be easy at first and that you are never going to know everything, but to always continue to learn and grow; and that’s how it should be. The last day walking out of clinical, I felt confident in that moment: I am ready to be a nurse.