Deborah Highfill believes in order to be a successful teacher, you must be connected with your students and fully understand nursing from a scientific as well as a holistic approach. She definitely connects with her students because she knows firsthand what it takes to continue your education. She’s done it multiple times, achieving two of her degrees online. This is her advice as you begin your nursing school journey.
“Everywhere you go, you are a nurse.”
Deborah believes a good nursing program is made up of strong faculty members who help students understand what it takes to be a nurse – not just the science behind it, but also the holistic aspect that allows them to truly help patients.
“I tell my students that every time I meet a person I am analyzing them from the time they walk in,” she says. “I shake their hand – is it hot is it cold is it sweaty? Is their face flushed? How do they walk?”
She says picking up on these little things is what makes a good nurse.
“Everywhere you go you are a nurse,” she says. “That’s to me what makes a good nurse – you not only see, you listen, you observe, all of those things. All of those senses come into it.
“Utica College is a great combination of both face to face and online learning.”
Deborah says Utica College’s ABSN program is successful because it manages to marry online learning with hands-on experience which gives students a complete nursing education.
“It’s incredible because you have a lot of traditional classes which are just face to face,” she says. “It’s ‘you make my schedule or I’m sorry you can’t come here.’ Then you have the others which are all online and you don’t get the extra help you need. But Utica College has been able to combine the two.”
This combination allows students to gain hands-on experience while also providing them flexibility in where and when they complete their online coursework, which is great for those with busy home lives.
“Most of our students are second degree so they already have a life that’s going on,” she says. “To be able to marry that with a program where, within 16 months, you’ll become well-qualified nurse is incredible.”
“We’re in the best time ever for nurses.”
Deborah says now is the time to become a nurse because the need is so great.
“We’re in the best time ever for nurses, in my opinion,” she says. “As we all get older, we require for health care so we’re looking at that to really increase the need for nurses.”
As that need increases, so does job security, which is another great benefit about becoming a nurse.
“In all of the professions I’m aware of, nursing has one of the greatest degrees – a security with it,” she says.
“There’s just a hundred million ways you can use nursing.”
Besides job security, nurses also have great flexibility in what they can do with their degrees. That’s what Deborah likes best about the profession.
“The thing I like about nursing is if you get bored with one aspect of it, you can do something else,” she says. “You can be a floor nurse, you can be a surgical nurse, you can go on and get more degrees, you can teach, you can be in a profession that goes in and talks to lawyers — there’s just a hundred million ways you can use nursing and that’s what I find exciting.”