Since graduating from BC in 2012, there have been many changes that have taken place in my life. Currently I work full time at New England Rehabilitation Hospital on the Cardiac/Stroke unit and also per diem at one of the clinics for Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. I also plan to start a Family Nurse Practitioner Program in spring of 2016.

The transition from nursing student to professional nurse can be quite challenging. However with support from family, friends, and mentors, the transition can be a lot smoother. During the first years of working, a concept I found challenging to deal with and personally experienced was that coworkers are not always supportive. In healthcare, especially in nursing, one may encounter what has been termed “horizontal violence” or “nurse-to-nurse bullying.” In these situations it is important to advocate for yourself and seek support from mentors, nursing leaders or even human resources professionals.

Leadership and mentoring remain part of my professional development. I acted as the charge nurse at one of my previous jobs at Lexington Health Care Center. I continue to be involved in professional organizations such as the National Black Nurses Association and Massachusetts Nurses Association. Also, I am involved with the Horatio Alger Association, a nonprofit organization where I was recognized as a National Scholar and awarded a scholarship. I mentor and do outreach to new Horatio Alger Scholars. In addition, I continue to reach out and mentor new nurses who are still at BC or have graduated from BC.

My advice to current students is to seek out mentors who can help you progress towards your goals. Network with your professors, classmates, and clinical instructors and get involved in professional organizations such as MASNA. Also I would encourage current students to seek employment as a nursing assistant at a place where they would like to be employed. New graduates are more likely to be hired as nurses if they have worked at an organization as a nursing assistant. Do not get discouraged if you still do not have a job offer after you take the NCLEX. It may take weeks or even months but keep looking and an opportunity will surely find you! Make sure to use friends, alumni, professors, classmates, former employers, mentors and family as resources when looking for jobs. Good luck!