Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Sarah Coleman

Class of 2011

 Sarah ColemanAs a student at Wofford, especially as a History major, Nursing was nowhere on my radar.  It wasn’t until I had a personal health crisis (and had a pretty bad experience) that it even crossed my mind that it may something that would appeal to me, and after graduation I got a job offer from my current Nurse Manager to work on Mother/Baby, I took her up on it.  I worked for 2.5 years as a Nurse Tech on weekend nights as I went through nursing school, and now I’ve been a Registered Nurse since January 2015.  I cannot overstate how much I use my History degree every day as a nurse.

Every shift I find myself writing at least one narrative note.  Admittedly the writing that I do these days is more technical than when I was in school and it is purely narrative. Writing is not something that typically comes to mind when nursing is mentioned.  As a nurse, you are your patient’s primary advocate.  I work on Mother/Baby, so I don’t necessarily see a lot of “sickness” per se, but it is extremely important to use critical thinking so that when a patient describes vague symptoms (or even if they don’t or can’t as half of patients are infants, and you notice something abnormal) you can treat them and treat them quickly.  Mothers and new babies are notorious for getting sick very quickly and although rare, it can become a life and death situation in a matter of moments. 

Cultural differences are especially important with my job—giving birth is ubiquitous across every culture, but of course the practices leading up to and following the birth can vary widely.  I work in Columbia which doesn’t necessarily seem too metropolitan, but I regularly have patients from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe.  Having a deeper understanding of their beliefs and practices makes me feel like I am better able to take care of patients in a way that makes them more comfortable.  It has to be frightening to have a baby in a place that isn’t your home. Overall, I feel like being an obstetrical nurse is something that empowers me and those around me in a way that connects me to millions of women in the past and present and it is an extremely rewarding job.