Student Spotlight: Jessica Andrea

Connecticut resident Jessica Andrea (G’15) earned her BSN in 2009 from Villanova University and is currently enrolled part time in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. In our latest Student Spotlight, she talks about her experience in the live classes and how she stays organized.

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

I love bedside nursing but was looking for more autonomy and a challenge. I’ve always been interested in primary care and look forward to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Why did you want to pursue this particular specialty?

I chose the Family Nurse Practitioner program because I love working with patients of all ages, and love that FNPs can work in a variety of different settings.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in this career path?

Remember what your ultimate goal is. School is rewarding and can be challenging, but it’s important to keep your career goals in mind at all times. Make sure you are organized! I have a calendar that is color-coded with my class, clinical, and work schedules, as well as exams and assignments, and it has been a big help!

What has your experience been with the Learning Management System (2GU)?

I have had a really good experience with 2GU. I’m not a technologically savvy person, but it is user-friendly and student support is a wonderful resource.

What is one skill you believe every nurse should possess, no matter what stage in his or her career?

Empathy. Regardless of what setting you are working in, the ability to see things from your patient’s perspective, or from their family member or caretaker’s perspective, is so important. Putting yourself in their footsteps will help you see where they are coming from, and what will work best for them as an individual.

Do you currently work part or full time?

I am currently per diem on a maternity floor.

In what states have you practiced?

I have only practiced in Connecticut.

In what departments have you worked?

In addition to maternity, I float to the NICU and spent six months working in outpatient pediatric urology.

How old are you?

I am 25 years old.

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been a nurse since 2009.

What are some ways you’ve been working to create a healthy work-school-life balance?

In addition to ensuring that I am organized, I schedule time every day to exercise, and give myself half an hour at night to relax. I went from part time to per diem at work, and I work a lot of evening and weekend shifts so that I have time for classes and clinical. It isn’t always easy, but I know it will be worth it in the end!

Do you have an example you can share of a time when you were able to apply something you’d learned in class to your current job?

This happens all the time. Just recently one of the babies I was caring for at work had a murmur, and thanks to pathophysiology and advanced health assessment, I not only heard it and was able to describe it, but knew what was causing it and what follow-up was necessary.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve really enjoyed the FNP program so far. I have had great professors who understand the demands of being a graduate student, working, and having responsibilities outside of school.