Two highly successful nurses with strong ties to The College of New Rochelle encouraged School of Nursing seniors to look beyond their board exams and consider the future of their career at the annual Nursing Advocacy Forum Tuesday, October 15.
Brian Liu, SN'07, and Dr. Launette Woolforde, who received a post-master's certificate in nursing education from CNR, also emphasized the important part mentors have played in their professional lives.
Liu began by empathizing with the students getting ready to enter the work force. "I've experienced the same worries as you seniors," he said. "I remember being your seats right now." While he urged students to "focus on your boards," he also asked them to consider where they eventually wanted to be.
Upon graduating from CNR's RN-to-BSN program, Liu worked at the Cardiothoracic ICU at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. After three years, he took on another position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
"But I really needed to do more, and I'm so glad I did," said Liu, who applied to and was accepted into the nurse anesthetist program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, graduating this past January. He now works as a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Montefiore Medical Center's Weiler Campus, and is looking at doctorate studies in the future.
"Nursing is neverending learning," said Liu. "It's really how much you put into it. Don't let anything stop you -- the only thing that's going to stop you is yourself."
Liu also praised Dr. Connie Vance, Professor of Nursing, who has organized the Nurse Advocacy Forum with Dr. Deborah Hunt, Associate Professor of Nursing, for the past five years. "Because of her, I'm a part of Healing the Children, providing anesthesia for kids' surgeries in South America."
For Woolforde, Director for Nursing Education and Professional Development at North Shore University Hospital, learning a doctorate didn't always seem feasible. It's a bit surprising, now that she's been an RN for 20 years, earning a bachelor's in nursing from Pace University, a master's in adult health nursing from Hunter, a doctor of nursing practice from Case Wester Reserve, and a doctor of education from Columbia.
But she was the first generation of her family to graduate from college, and she had doubts. "You know what it feels like when you can sense graduation," Woolforde told the crowd of seniors. "You think, 'I just want to finish this program!'" Vance, however, urged her to attend an open house at Columbia.
Woolforde asked members of the audience if they thought they were "Columbia material." "I was in the portion of you who didn't raise their hand," she said. "I didn't have Columbia money, or Columbia grades, or Columbia whatever. I went to that open house because someone that I admired thought I should go."
Find a mentor who inspires you, Woolforde said. "It helps you to remain focused and on track," when times get tough. Also, she said about Vance, "I couldn't let her down."
It's important to commit professional growth, said Woolforde, as the competition for jobs is stiff. She said she expected every senior to pass their boards, but beyond that, "you have to make yourself stand out."