When it comes to embarking on a career in nursing, inspiration often takes root in personal experiences and a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of others. For Jessica Spradley, the journey began during her seven years as a corpsman in the military, where she participated in many nursing roles. This invaluable experience instilled in her the confidence that nursing was the path she wanted to pursue.
“Choosing the right institution for my nursing education was a crucial decision,” said Jessica. “The George Washington University (GW) stood out for several reasons. Being a Yellow Ribbon school provided crucial support for veterans like me. Additionally, the 17-month program duration and the alignment of Veterans BSN prerequisites with my prior military training made it a perfect fit.”
One of the most memorable experiences during her time at GW Nursing occurred early in the program. The overwhelming course load and the pressure of balancing various aspects of life led to a full-blown meltdown. “It felt like a moment in boot camp where I questioned my ability to see the journey through,” she said. “Thankfully, the academic counselor provided guidance, offering practical methods to manage assignments. I began using a planner, a tool I had never used before, to keep myself organized. This newfound resilience and adaptability would become a hallmark of my nursing journey.”
The military service ingrained in her a remarkable skill: mental resilience. This resilience has been instrumental in her nursing career, helping her tackle the demanding tasks of studying, clinicals, long shifts, tests, and bouncing back from failures.
“It's crucial for nurses to speak up for their patients' well-being and advocate for quality care. And it’s important to not jeopardize your morals while fulfilling your desire to care for people holistically.”
Today, as a nurse, she believes one of the critical issues facing the profession is the challenge of providing evidence-based care within tight time constraints. “Nurses often find themselves torn between providing comprehensive care and meeting their patients' needs,” she said. “It's crucial for nurses to speak up for their patients' well-being and advocate for quality care. And it’s important to not jeopardize your morals while fulfilling your desire to care for people holistically.”
To future nurses, her advice is to hone your listening skills. Effective communication is at the heart of nursing, and it's essential for building trust and providing holistic care to patients. “Listening can make all the difference in the world. If you don't like it, learn to get good at it or consider a role in administration,” she advised. “Nursing is a rewarding and demanding journey, but with the right skills and mindset, you can truly make a difference in the lives of those you serve.”