Nursing student Priscilla Bianchini has learned and gained much from Newman, as her studies helped her to get started in the field she would come to love.
Though she initially began her career path in the office of a metallurgic company, which involves working with metals, Bianchini felt the health care field tugging at her since she was a child. Eventually, it was the experiences of her family that gave her one final push into the field of nursing.
“What changed my mind about my career decision years later was when I saw my family members struggling with health issues and the health care system — especially my mom and dad,” Bianchini said. “I started to feel powerless because I did not have enough knowledge to help them at the time.”
While she fought back and forth between the comfort of a job she’s known for years and the untapped passion and potential she felt in her heart, this love and concern she felt for her family became her call to arms.
Finding and embracing Newman
Even though the career change would take Bianchini from Brazil to the United States, she completed her pre-nursing studies at Cowley College and found a new, welcoming home after transferring to Newman University.
“Since my first tour at Newman, I felt that it was the right place to study,” Bianchini said. “I got home and I told my husband how excited I was to apply to Newman. I fell in love with the campus, and the staff and faculty treated me great. The admissions team was helpful throughout all processes, and they were always there to answer my questions.”
In addition to the welcoming experience Bianchini had during her tour and application process, she found the class structure and supportive faculty to be a huge help for her studies.
“One of the things that got my attention was the class size and the ratio between student and professor. Particularly, I always liked smaller classes and the chance to be closer to the instructor. For me, it makes all the difference. I do not enjoy being in a place where I will be just a number. As a student, I feel that the more support we have, the more we will succeed.”
Most of all, Bianchini was thankful for the kindness and understanding she was shown throughout the difficulties of the pandemic.
“Newman continued to support me through my journey,” she said. “Last year during the pandemic, I was mentally affected by all the fear for my family’s health. As an international student, I did not have the opportunity to visit my family during my studies — meaning that it was three years that I did not see them. Unfortunately, my dad got COVID-19 and spent some days in the ICU. I felt powerless because I could not help him or be there for him. It was the worst feeling. The only thing I could do was pray, and that was what I did.”
This worry Bianchini felt for her family took a toll on her mental and emotional health, which made keeping up with her studies challenging. She worried about her mother, who also had COVID, her sisters, both of her grandmothers and all of her loved ones. The support from her husband, her friends and the university itself made things a bit easier, but by no means easy.
“Although I was studying hard and trying to focus on my classes, I ended up failing a class that semester. I was devastated and cried a lot. I thought it would be the end of my nursing career. But Newman showed how supportive they are, and they maintained my scholarship and accepted me back into the program. I was so grateful for that.”
With this renewed opportunity, Bianchini started working even harder to earn her degree.
“I want to make Newman proud of me.”
Becoming a nurse
The fruits of her labor are quickly beginning to pay off. As Bianchini strides toward the finish line, she is confident in her new career path.
“I fell in love with the nursing career on my first day,” she said. “Nursing is complex, but it is full of worth at the same time. For me, it is incredible to learn how the human body works and how simple interventions sometimes could have a giant impact on a person’s health. We are learning every day, and the challenge is what fascinates me.”
To Bianchini, nursing is not only a profession of care, but it is also a profession of service.
“I am passionate about nursing because it goes beyond caring for someone. Many people do not realize how complex it is to be a nurse. Each person is different, and it is our role to find the best care for each of them. We do our research, ask questions, check their medications, assess them, and adapt our care according to our findings. Besides that, we also can advocate for the patient and discuss their outcomes.”
Bianchini’s time on campus has reinforced this passion for nursing as she continues to build a foundation of skills, experience and knowledge.
“I also work in the nursing lab, which I love to do,” she said. “It is the way I have found to get more experience about the supplies and procedures I would encounter in the hospital and at the same time to help instructors to set the lab for students, organize the storage and help the students to practice skills when necessary. I am happy to be useful on campus. It is part of my nature to be a helper.”
Part of a whole
Bianchini has also joined the Nursing Club and Nursing Christian Fellowship, both of which help students foster a greater sense of community within the field of nursing.
“For me, the best parts of being a member of those clubs are to be able to get closer with students and instructors and learn with them,” she said. “We help each other. We are on the same path, and it is amazing how students from all semesters could meet and get closer to each other. That is nursing. We work together, help each other, worry about people around us, and are a team.”
In addition to creating that sense of community, these organizations are also a wonderful setting to explore one’s identity, philosophy and spirituality.
“I am learning and enjoying both clubs a lot. It is great to have a place where we are ourselves, share our thoughts, talk about the work of God in our life, and support each other.”
All of these experiences are collective proof to Bianchini that she knows who she is, and who she is meant to be.
“Each day I am more and more sure that I have chosen the right path to my career,” Bianchini said. “I cannot see myself doing other things besides nursing. I am so grateful for every single person in my life that helped me and supported me to be here today, especially for my family that was always on my side.”
Ultimately, this journey was a testament to the fact that “the heart knows best.”
Bianchini added, “Now I understand how some choices in life could have a giant impact on our life. Even though I was not so young anymore, I decided to try one more time to find a career that I could work with my heart.”