Undergraduate Casey Yamane is ready to shed the student label as she approaches graduation this August. From her familial experience that prepped her for a future in nursing to her surprising resource for studying, Casey explains how her path toward her nursing degree was born.
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Joe Gaccione 0:00
Hello and welcome to vital views podcast for UNLV School of Nursing. I'm Joseph Gaccione, communications director for the School of Nursing. What is the feeling like to be on the verge of graduating from nursing school. That's what 74 students are experiencing this semester at UNLV nursing. Once pre nursing students get accepted to nursing school, they chart their health care course through four intense semesters before they get to walk across the stage. From there, it's taking their national licensure exam to officially become a registered nurse, one of our graduating summer 2022 Students joins us today in the booth. Casey Yamane, who is also vice president for UNLV Student Nurses Association. Casey, thanks for coming by.
Thank you for having me here.
Joe G 0:41
So let's talk about the final semester, how's everything going?
It's great. I think this is my favorite semester out of all of the semesters. So I just feel like everything's coming to an end in the best way possible. I can really see how much I've grown. And I think I'm ready to start my next journey. As a nurse,
Joe G 1:01
you feel like now that you're in the final semester, as of this recording, you only have little less than a month left, like, everything's starting to click?
Yes. Like, we have a thing called preceptorship. And I feel like, there I could really see how much I've grown. I'm way more independent, I'm okay to be by myself, with patients handling meds, talking to doctors, stuff like that.
Joe G 1:28
As a reminder, what a preceptorship does for nursing student is it gives them that experience their real world experience to actually treat patients. It's like the next step going into the real world. Correct?
And what unit are you in for your preceptorship?
I am on the chest pain unit at UMC.
Joe G 1:48
Okay. Is that the one you want? Is that the unit you would prefer?
I wanted an IMC floor. So I guess so. Yeah. Okay.
Joe G 1:55
And then besides the preceptorship right now, you guys are going through your capstone projects, correct?
Can you explain to people what the capstone project is all about?
The capstone project is kind of like an evidence based practice project where you're doing a lot of research, and you're gonna come up with like an intervention that you would supposedly present to other people. Me and my group, we chose to do one that's focused on mental health, especially since we had a psych clinical and a psych lecture. That's kind of what motivated us. And then we also focused on the geriatric population, knowing how much of a higher risk they are for developing like mental health issues such as depression. And that's what we learned in level three.
Are you focusing just on maybe pandemic, years or in general?
that's a good thing that you brought it up, we were motivated by the pandemic years, especially with the social isolation. So we're doing like the effects of social isolation on the geriatric population in regards to depression.
What's been the biggest surprise to you when it comes to nursing school now that you're in your last semester?
I think one of the biggest surprises is how much nurses actually do. I coming into nursing school, I didn't really know exactly what nurses do to like the full extent. But they really do a lot, they do a lot of critical thinking, there's way more critical thinking than I thought there was you're really taking care of the patient, and the whole patient, you're seeing what they need, what to do next. So I think that was one of the biggest shocks.
What inspired you to be a nurse?
What inspired me is I think my family, I have younger siblings. So growing up, I was always taking care of people. And I knew that I wanted to do something that took care of people and learning about what nursing does. I know that they take care of the whole person, we learn it, a thing called Holistic Health. And that's basically where you encompass the physical, spiritual, mental aspects of a person. And you really help treat that.
What was the most challenging part of nursing school?
That's a good question. There's a lot of challenging things. I think it was probably, like I mentioned earlier, critical thinking, Nursing is a different kind of monster. You really have to think about different aspects like, Oh, what was their past medical history and how does it relate to their current condition? Or what lab values relate to this? What medications can you give in regards to their current status? So there's a lot of critical thinking. But I think throughout nursing school, they really have prepared all of us like they slowly put in bits and pieces like every level, and just slowly building us into the people who
we are. We also mentioned before, you're part of the Student Nurses Association, as Vice President. Can you talk a little bit about what that role entails?
I basically do like all the assistant stuff for the vice president. We work hand in hand to make different events happen. This semester has been a little bit of a struggle, because I didn't realize how busy level four is. But we've definitely we're making it work. We did the nurses camp, which was like a month long program for high school students. And that was a great success. And we're planning on doing like two more activities. We have an ice cream Day, which you should stop by on August 1, and then we want to do like a dodgeball thing.
How long have you been in SNA?
Um, well, they start you in SNA. Starting from level one, automatically, you're in SNA, I think I started getting more involved in level three, I was the fundraising director. And then I kind of wanted more of a role to have more of an impact, especially for my last semester. So that's why I decided to run for vice president,
one of the biggest things that we see with students, especially undergrads is trying to manage their time, and that's just doing nursing school on its own, but to do nursing school, and be affiliated with a group like SNA, what are what are the tricks that you learned as far as balancing both to be able to have time for those events, but also for yourself,
I think it's all about organization, seeing what you have to do, seeing what events you have, what classes you have, what assignments you have, and just organizing it. Also not procrastinating. Like I used to be an procrastinator. For every single class, I used to do an essay like the night before. But in nursing school, I found that that was not the best way to go. So you always just do bits and pieces every day, this assignment one day, take a break this Simon another day, maybe some SNA stuff, I also work. So that's another additional thing that I add into my schedule. But it's really doable. A lot of us work full time. I don't work full time. But a lot of us work and go to nursing school, and we're okay.
And it really is that balance. We talked before about mental health. But in this case, it's finding that work life balance because it's easy just to get sucked into tasks and assignments and projects and work. But really that personal time, it's almost like you have to schedule it out for yourself. You have to physically actually write personal time, fun time, just so you remember to do it.
Yes, I actually do have like a personal time in my schedule. But it is definitely doable. I think taking time for yourself is really important in nursing school. It's such a high stress level, and you're going at such a fast pace in this program. So it's definitely important to take a mental health break, find something, find an outlet that you like to do. That really helps to relieve stress. I go to the gym.
So now going forward, you graduate, you get your degree, and presumably your license. Where do you want your nursing career to take you?
Well, first, before I began nursing school, I wanted to become a CRNA which is a certified registered nurse anesthetist. I don't know about that one. But my clinical instructors, I love them so much all of them have really shaped me, especially my level one instructor Miss Jovi. She's the one that kind of motivated me to go back to school and possibly get my master's in nursing education. Nice. Yeah.
Are there any particular topics you'd want to teach?
I don't know. Because Miss Jovi she really shaped me. So I feel like level one is really where the foundation is, and where you start to go from just a student to an actual nurse.
Let's test out the nurse educator aspect. Let's say you're talking to either pre nursing students, or maybe level one students, what is the best study tip you can give them? I
feel like it's hard for me to say because everyone learns at such a different style. Fair enough. So I think finding that style that you like, is really what's going to help you because I know that I study like with a visual. So I actually like to study slides. Like that's how I study. And then I like to watch YouTube videos. I think YouTube videos are the greatest invention on planet Earth, because that's really a great tool, especially simple nursing and stuff like that. So as a YouTube videos, and also showing up to class makes a difference. I know some people like if the class is easy, or if the lecture is boring, it's easy to skip a class. But really paying attention and taking down notes. And being an active listener in class makes a difference
along those lines. You're looking at your younger self, the Casey who's just about to enter nursing school for the first time. What is your biggest piece of advice to younger you?
Oh, that's such a good question. I think I would say to have more confidence just to be confident and myself and my capabilities and love why and I was a nervous wreck all the time. And sometimes I felt like it hindered my learning, but now I'm not as anxious and I'm a lot more confident especially dealing with patients and other nurses,
if you don't want me asking, Where do you think the anxiety came from?
I think it was just the pressure that I put on myself. I always have high expectations for myself, just that pressure along with the pressure of nursing school, like dealing with patients you're always trying to perform at your best. So I think that's where the anxiousness came from. Fair enough.
Well, Casey, thank you for stopping in.
Thank you so much for having me again.
Casey, and her cohort will walk across the stage at UNLV nurses recognition ceremony, August 25. Thanks for listening, everybody. Hope you have a great day.
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