Final Semester Memories - Summer 2022 (With Gabriela Cervantes)

Gabriela Cervantes is one of 74 nursing students set to graduate at the end of the Summer 2022 semester. She shares what motivated her to pursue nursing, how she manages her time in class, clinicals, and in UNLV's Student Nurses Association, and the advice she'd give her younger self about nursing school.

Joe Gaccione 0:04
Hello, and welcome to vital views podcast for UNLV School of Nursing. I'm Joe Gaccione, communications director for the School of Nursing. We created this podcast to help share tales from our hard working nurses out there, whether they're students, faculty, staff, alumni or donors, the stories focus on work on the frontlines in the classrooms, in the lab, wherever our nurses are making a difference. We don't just talk about nursing, we dive into broader healthcare topics to bring attention to bigger issues that impact everybody. We also talk about ways to keep you, your family and your community healthier, both physically and mentally.

What is the feeling like to be on the verge of graduating from nursing school? That's what 74 undergraduate students are experiencing this semester at UNLV. Nursing once pre nursing students get accepted to nursing school, they chart their healthcare course through four intense semesters before they get to walk across the stage. From there, it's taking their national licensure exam to officially become a registered nurse, one of our summer 2022 final semester students joins us here today in the booth, Gabriella Cervantes, who in addition to her academics is Secretary for UNLV Nursing Student Government. Gabriela, thanks for stopping in.

Hi, good to be here.

Joe G
Talking about your what your final semester has been like, so far, has it lived up to your expectations?

Gabriela 1:15
This semester has been pretty good. It has lived up to my expectations, previous cohorts said that level four would be easier. And I partially agree to that. I liked having to focus on one class in the beginning. And then like that was nice, just one class. But then preceptorship kind of came around and we had to figure out our own schedule. That was a little bit stressful. But now everything's like golden.

Joe G 1:43
For those of you at home who don't know what a preceptorship is, for the last undergraduate semester, the nursing students finally get to go to their preceptorship, which basically puts you guys in these structured supervised clinical roles. Which unit are you working at?

Gabriela 1:57
I am currently at sunrise in the medical cardiac unit. So it's a med surg unit. How's that been going? It's great. I'm so grateful for my preceptor. He's been really patient, and he's taught me a lot. The unit culture on that specific floor is fantastic. I love it.

Joe G 2:18
You guys go through clinicals up until level four, how are clinicals different than a preceptorship? Are they the same thing

Gabriela 2:24
I wouldn't say so with previous clinicals. We have nurse that we kind of shadow, and we kind of see them passing medication. And we get to participate in that as well. But for preceptorship, we're kind of a little bit more independent. And we are finally charting by ourselves on patients. We're doing head to toe assessments, we're giving them medications alongside our preceptor. And so they kind of give us a little bit more range to do more independent work.

Joe 2:57
Is it a little intimidating to finally get that real world experience that hands on experience?

Gabriela 3:02
It is at least for me, I was super anxious, like coming into nursing school and like being it being something totally new, it was scary. But now I feel like it's prepared me to kind of go out into the workforce. So being independent and like the preceptorship is it's helped a lot.

Joe 3:22
What would you say has been the toughest part about nursing school? Would you say it's a class or just more about work life balance time management?

Gabriela 3:29
I think time management for sure. And then like for me, like I said it was something completely new, you know, being in interacting with patients and and people who are sick, and people who are at their lowest points, you know, kind of trying to understand what they're going through. Yeah, just being in a healthcare setting. That's that was for me the hardest, trying to get used to the day to day activities that a nurse goes through.

Joe 3:58
Do you feel like it's gotten better now? By the fourth semester? Your final semester?

Oh, yeah.

what made you want to be a nurse.

Gabriela 4:05
So I mean, growing up, you know, I'm Hispanic, I'm Mexican American. And I didn't really see a lot of people or a lot of nurses, or health care providers that spoke the language that I spoke, because my first language was Spanish. And, you know, I had to translate for my mom and I didn't really know a lot of medical terminology back then. So to the point where I could accurately and correctly translate for my mother. So I feel like I kind of want to bridge that gap. You know, being a nurse and being a person of color to advocate for patients of color as well and minorities.

Joe 4:46
Do you feel like now that you're one step closer like you feel like you've almost fulfilled that?

Gabriela 4:50
Yes and no, I feel like I have so much more to learn. There's like a still a lot of stuff that needs to be done in the healthcare field to bridge that gap. up, but I feel like I see my peers and we are very diverse. And I think that gives me hope for the future.

Joe 5:05
what has been the biggest surprise for you being in nursing school at this point, maybe a take away something you didn't know about nursing that you found out? You're like, wow.

Gabriela 5:13
it's a lot of responsibility. I didn't consider I didn't think I thought I thought we just followed, you know, doctor's orders. And, but it's a lot of responsibility. You know, we're kind of the last line of defense, let's say a medication error for we have to catch that, you know, we don't want to harm these patients, and we are responsible for them. Yeah, lots of responsibility.

Joe G 5:36
With your cohort, I'd imagine because you're taking the same classes together, you might be in the same clinical groups together. And you might even be working at the same hospitals together. What's that bond been like, going through this together,

Gabriela 5:48
going through this together has, you know, I've met amazing people. And I consider them to be my good friends and just helping each other out helping each other study helping each other kind of lessen the accent and anxiety of going into a hospital not knowing anything, and kind of like relying on each other to help each other. I think it's, it's great.

Joe 6:10
You made me think of something you were talking about having a voice for nurses who who might be from different cultures, you know, it's like goes with as a nurse, you want to be an advocate, not just for your patients, but for other nurses. How important is that advocacy to you?

Gabriela 6:26
I think it's really important, especially right now, I mean, interacting with nurses who have been nurses for 1020 years, nursing shortages have been a thing and I feel like I also advocating for nurses, there needs to be more talk about safer staffing ratios and even mental health within this field.

Joe 6:47
by the time this airs, we're going to be a few weeks from recognition, which the recognition ceremony is separate ceremony for UNLV nursing, where essentially is a graduation ceremony. Upon that time, you get your degree, and presumably you get your licensure. Where do you want your nursing career to take off eventually?

Gabriela 7:05
I'm not sure. Right now I'm kind of just going with the flow. I do want to, I'm considering starting off in med surg. From there, I want to open myself to different opportunities in different units. I hope to go to graduate school and, you know, continue my education. That way. Also, any particular field in graduate school, obstetrics and gynecology, or women's health.

Joe 7:27
Any particular reason why or just looks interesting?

looks interesting. Yeah.

You mentioned med surg before, and I hear from a lot of students, especially the ones in the second semester, that med surg is a very tough class. Is that true?

Gabriela 7:41
Yes, it's, it's true. But Dr. Tan, I think, is one of the best professors that I have ever had in my collegiate career. He's hard, but he's hard for a reason. And I personally think he does a phenomenal job at making you see, and kind of putting things together

Joe 8:02
isn't just the scope of that class, the scope of the material that it covers that makes it challenging?

Gabriela 8:08
I think so. And then you're trying to relate it to other body systems and how everything works together within the body. So you're not just learning one thing, you know, that's particular to the heart, you're learning how that affects other organs or other body systems. So you kind of have to piece that together.

Joe 8:25
Now you're part of student government as well, for people at home listening, what is the student government, like for UNLV nursing,

Gabriela 8:33
our president and vice president and myself, we work together to include our cohort to participate in service projects, in social events, and then on in ways to better basically better the nursing program for future students.

Joe 8:51
Because it's almost like a voice for the students to connect to faculty and staff, correct?


Have there been any projects? You've been a part of what student government that was most memorable for you?

Gabriela 9:01
Actually, yes. Cynthia, president and Natalie, our Vice President, they came up with a fundraiser where they baked cookies. We all gathered up money to send to the families of the buffalo shooting the victims of the buffalo shooting. So that was really memorable. And I thought that was a great opportunity to help.

Joe 9:27
I talked to them separately about that. They raised a couple hundred dollars for it to Yeah, every little bit helps. If you could pass on any piece of advice to younger self, if you were able to see your younger self, about to enter nursing school, maybe even pre nursing, what would be your advice to that person?

Gabriela 9:45
Let's just keep going. It's gonna get hard and it's going to feel like you can't do it, but there's a reason why you're here. And you can do it. You're good. Oh,

Joe 9:58
Gabriella, thank you for coming by. Gabriella and her cohort members will walk across the stage at UNLV nursing is recognition ceremony for our graduating undergrads and graduate students on August 25 Thanks for listening everybody hope you have a great day

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Final Semester Memories - Summer 2022 (With Gabriela Cervantes)
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