NURSING: ‘IT ISN’T JUST HANDING OUT PILLS’

PEOPLE'S LIVES DEPEND ON WHAT WE DO

ANTHONY VENTRONE, STAFF WRITER

Professor Diane Booker is leading the way for nurses at Brookdale Community College. Booker is the club adviser for the Brookdale Student Nurses’ Association, guiding future nurses into their careers since 2000.

The SNA creates an environment in which students can participate in educational workshops and listen to influential guest speakers. Booker has a wealth of knowledge of both the SNA and the world of nursing. Through her use of knowledge and counsel, students are sure to grow.

“It’s very interesting to watch them come in for fundamentals, not expecting (more). They think of this as nursing, you are just going to give a pill. Then they get hit up the back side of the head with the science and patho-physiology and anatomy, and they’re like, this is really hard. Yes, this is a difficult science discipline and it isn’t just handing out pills. Because what we do, people’s lives depend on what we do, and there’s liability and accountability and responsibility at a very high level attached to what we do,” Booker said.

 

“The Student Nurses’ Association is the biggest club on campus. Each school can have a student nurses association, and it is the school’s chapter of the state association and the state student nurses’ association also has connections with the national student nurses’ association,” Booker said. Brookdale nursing students are highly encouraged to join and participate in the program.

The organization is multilayered, giving students an education that takes a deeper look into the nursing world. “There’s a whole tier and it’s structured to be just like the national (organization) for nursing and the registered nurse organizations. The focus is a multi-focus, one of the focuses is to get students enrolled in their professional organizations starting at the student level. And then when you graduate there’s the professional level.”

“When you get to the state level and you graduate and you get licensed and all that, then there are organizations that branch off and are very specific and are very specific to whatever your area of specialty or your discipline,” Booker said.

Education is the standard for the SNA. “One of the focuses is always continuing education and socialization. The Student Nurses’ Association, we like them to understand the political structure of the club, but also how nurses really need to be involved in their local state and federal government because of all the laws and regulations that come through governing bodies that impact health care. If you’re going to teach your patient about health insurance and prescription coverage, it’s important to know what the legislators are doing,” Booker said.

The urgency for students to be informed is one of the organization’s purpose. “Some students don’t even know that is something they should be involved in,” Booker said.

Community outreach is important for the SNA. “We start with doing projects within the college. We might have blood pressure drives. We will set up a table over at student life and do blood pressures and teach people about diabetes, hypertension because those are huge issues, not just in the older populations,” Booker said.

Field trips are part of the fun. “I’ve taken them to Philadelphia where we took a tour of the first hospital in Philadelphia. The hospital of Philadelphia still has set up the original operating room and library and a couple of classrooms of the absolute original hospital. You can see what they had to practice with. We went down to the Mutter museum, a museum of specimens.  There’s jars and jars of specimens collected from the 1800’s, maybe even earlier to current. It might be conjoined twins that were stillborn or a tumor that somebody took out,” Booker said.

Veterans are populating the SNA, and they are more than welcomed. “We’re seeing more and more veterans come through our program. We help them get through because they are veterans returning and some of them had to interrupt their education and the program helps them get back on track with education. We like to get them involved and some people bring with them personal experiences. So, they’re also good people to talk to their fellow classmates about what they did,” Booker said.

Seeing students succeed is an accomplishment and a relief.  “By the time they’re ready to graduate. We’re thrilled they finally made it. We’re always proud of them and happy to see them move on and we’re also interested when they come back and we see them working and we hear what they’ve done and people who’ve come back now have their masters and are now one of our adjuncts,” Booker said.

The SNA is like a family, Booker said. “We also teach them that you can always come back here and talk to faculty. Don’t think because you’re gone that you’re free of us forever because we’re the network.”

The SNA meets the first Monday of every month. Booker can also be reached at 732-224-1978.