I chose UMFK due to its reputation among employers. Nurses that I knew in the area recommended it to me, and I ultimately decided to attend due to the flexibility that UMFK provides. UMFK is the only nursing program in the northern half of the state that allows the flexibility with class scheduling and clinical for me to get my nursing degree while also maintaining the stipulations of an employment contract that I am in.
The program at UMFK has provided me with ways to become prepared for my future role as a nurse. The didactic portion of the program has provided me with a better understanding of leadership, professionalism, communication, and critical thinking that is necessary for entering the workforce as an entry-level nurse. The lab portion of the program has adequately prepared me for clinicals, and in some cases, it has allowed me to practice skills that I was unable to perform during my clinical rotations. The clinical portion of the program has been an excellent experience. I have been able to learn in many different departments of the hospital, long-term/skilled care settings, and outpatient facilities. The variety of learning environments has allowed me to gain diverse experiences, and it has also helped me to better decide which areas I would like to work in following graduation. The new integration of ATI into the curriculum has been a huge confidence booster towards taking the NCLEX exam.
My biggest advice for potential students is to take any options available to gain experience both before and during your time at UMFK. If you are able to get a job, job shadow, or internship in the medical field before entering school, absolutely take that opportunity. You will learn a lot, and it will give you a leg up when you enter the program. My other piece of advice is to be a go-getter. When you are in clinicals especially, make sure to ask questions, see as much as you can, and do as much as you can. You are in charge of your own success, and your attitude and motivation can make or break your experience during nursing school.
I will be graduating in May of 2020. I plan to work in a critical care or emergency department setting at a larger hospital. Once I gain a few years of experience, I am considering taking some time to do travel nursing. I am a lifelong learner, and I would not be surprised if I go back for graduate school in the future.