"Learn time management however you can! I took rigorous courses at COC and took on some part time jobs as I got older to learn how to succeed under pressure and find enjoyment in even stressful situations."
Hear Angelica discuss what she pursued at AOC, and advice for what prospective nursing majors should pursue there!
Class of 2019
@aseifert5 (DM first, saying you’re from AOC!)
On the job at UCLA!
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
No one in my family is nursing or healthcare, but I’ve been a patient my whole life. I’ve managed severe asthma and allergies from an early age, with multiple hospitalizations and allergist appointments from toddlerhood through present day. I’ve been trained how to manage my inhalers, EpiPens, and oral medicines.
Despite my lungs, I decided to train for the 2017 LA Marathon through SOAR in SCV. I thought rigorous aerobic training would help control my asthma better than all the medicines I was taking. I finished three marathons by the time I graduated, and my asthma was very well controlled.
While at AOC, I completed my associate’s in mathematics (my favorite subject at the time). However, my high school counselor also put me on the path of an associate’s in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and I loved my science and humanities courses.
My holistic approach to controlling my asthma—along with my drive to be a leader and passion for service—inspired me to pursue a career in which I could help other people find holistic approaches to their health needs. It felt natural for me to choose nursing, like my whole life had built up to it.
At MSMU, I saw upperclassmen walk around campus in olive green scrubs from UCLA and I thought they looked really cool. When the time came, I applied and was hired to work for UCLA’s Float Team, meaning I gained experience on a different floor nearly every shift.
Though most of my shifts are in the ER, my favorite shifts are with children. When I was placed at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in Fall 2021, I confirmed all my feelings that I wanted to be a pediatric RN. I also declared a Child Development minor.
During summer 2022, I went “on loan” at UCLA Santa Monica’s pediatric department, which meant I worked exclusively there instead of on random short-staffed units. It was the best (and busiest) summer ever.
Through my experience on loan, I was connected to a family that needed help at home with their infant, who needs extra medical attention for her heart defect. In this role, I have a chance to practice nursing skills and build nursing intuition.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
I took Biology 100 and Chemistry 151 at COC.
Completed my associates in Mathematics and Liberal Arts and Sciences: Math and Science
I spoke to any nurses that I could find: friend’s parents, neighbors, nurses in my doctor’s offices, older friends in college. I asked them about their college experience and their time spent in the field.
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Pediatrics rotation at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles.
Temporary position with UCLA Santa Monica Mattel Children’s Hospital as a nurse assistant, summer 2022.
In-home caregiver for an infant, based in Santa Monica.
Community and Public Health rotation at Allies for Every Child, social services agency and daycare for underserved, in-need families in Los Angeles.
Secretary of California Nursing Student Association 2022-2023.
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
Along with attending school full-time, I work as a Care Partner for UCLA Health at both the UCLA Ronald Reagan and Santa Monica Medical Centers and as an in-home caregiver based in Santa Monica. I plan to apply for Los Angeles-based New Grad programs in Pediatrics in the Spring and will be taking my NCLEX licensing exam in Summer 2023. Long-term, I’m considering pursuing a Master’s degree in something to do with Pediatrics or Family Medicine—and I may go for my Nurse Practitioner’s license, but I’m really not sure! I’m also interested in becoming a nurse educator, either as a clinical instructor or as an adjunct professor (or both!). I’m not sure how long I will be working at the bedside, but I know becoming a Pediatric RN is the first step of many.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: I wouldn’t recommend pursuing the big nursing pre-reqs/labs (microbiology, anatomy, physiology) while at AOC. You NEED to pass these to get into a nursing program, and a lot of schools would prefer you do these as an undergraduate student instead. But if you do—do NOT skimp on studying!
Advice #2: Most other nursing pre-reqs can be completed at COC. Even though they may not shorten the time it takes to get your BSN, they’ll free up your schedule significantly and even give you room to declare a minor, if you’re interested. I recommend looking up nursing programs and seeing what their specific pre-reqs and nursing electives are to complete them while at COC. Some of the ones I took: Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, History, English, Chemistry, Biology, Statistics. Coordinate with your counselor, too.
Advice #3: Volunteering at a hospital is a great idea, but in my opinion not a must! I hadn’t worked at a hospital until my first nursing rotation, but I was still accepted to all the programs I applied to. It bolsters your college application and knowledge, but it’s not a requirement.
Advice #4: The skills I recommend building now: time management and thick skin. Nursing school and bedside nursing are alike in that they are fast-paced and sometimes merciless—and there will inevitably be a tough patient, nurse, professor, or exam/class in your future. I’ve learned both school and work in this field require a willingness to keep going when it gets tough and an ability to set yourself up for success ahead of time.
Advice #5: Nursing is about caring for others, but this isn’t possible without caring for yourself! I recommend spending time with friends, getting lots of sleep, and pursuing your hobbies like sports, art, or music while at AOC. Just do anything that you love until you get to nursing school, and don’t stop once you get there! It’s not worth burning out before you even get to nursing school—and I’m speaking directly from my own experience.