Pioneer Profile

Abbygael Brodbeck '19

Major: Nursing

What made you choose this major?

The first question I was ever asked in nursing school was at the beginning of my very first lecture, and it was simply: “Why do you want to be a nurse?” Many of my classmates naturally answered with: “Because I want to help people.” I too would agree that I have always loved caring for people, but ultimately, I could have chosen one of many other professions where I would be able to help people every day.

It was my love for my high school biology and anatomy classes that initially attracted me to the healthcare field. During my sophomore year of high school, I took a course called “Healthcare Occupations” where a different guest speaker came in each class to talk about their job. Amongst the crowd of healthcare professionals, I felt connected to the nurses the most. After this, I started researching nursing as a career and felt motivated by the challenges of nursing.

To be a successful nurse one needs to be both highly educated yet creative enough to problem solve, strong yet emotionally vulnerable enough to bond with patients, and also have an instinctual curiosity and thirst to keep learning. It’s for these reasons, along with “wanting to help people” that will make nursing a rigorous and rewarding career for me.

How has what you’ve learned prepared you for your future?

The amount of knowledge that I have learned in only a few semesters at Carroll has been incredible. I began college knowing some basic anatomy and had a Certified Nursing Assistant license, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Carroll University’s curriculum strives to develop students into skilled nurses with a strong foundation of knowledge and research, and over the course of my academic career here, that has proven to be true. The professors emphasize evidence-based practice in class, and groom students to think critically. In less than two years, I’ve gone from learning how to properly ambulate a patient with a walker, to being able to conduct a full head-to-toe physical assessment, and have even taken care of my first patient in a clinical setting. I didn’t realize the extent or depth of my knowledge until I recently had the opportunity to job shadow a NICU nurse. Not only was I encouraged by how much I loved it, but while being on the unit with her, I knew not just “how” she was doing a skill, but “why” she was doing it, which was extremely rewarding.

What’s one of the most unique experiences you’ve had relating to the coursework for your major?

There is one lecture I had from the Nursing 233 course: Foundations of Nursing Practice, instructed by Kathy Sampson, MSN, that will stick with me for the remainder of my career. For this particular day, we broke from the usual scheduled lecture and Kathy divided our class up into small groups. She presented each group with a scenario involving a medical ethical dilemma. Our task as was to analyze the situation, and by the end of class, come to a consensus about what plan of action we would take. This activity sanctified the fact that decisions are not going to always be black or white and that sometimes the right answer isn’t always clear. Analyzing these tough situations helped me practice confidence in my own voice, improve my communicational soft-skills about difficult subject matter and stretch my thinking to see a scenario from another’s point of view, all which will be critical qualities to have in my career.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you’re learning in the classroom?

As a freshman I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and have served on the leadership team by assisting bible study leaders. In the spring of 2016, I joined the Carroll University Odyssey team. Although I no longer write for Odyssey, it was a fulfilling creative outlet at the time, and I learned leadership and communication skills by being a contributing editor. I’ve been able to give back to the nursing program by tutoring and peer mentoring in nursing labs, and have worked closely with the academic support program manager and other fellow tutors to better the tutoring program. I’ve taken steps outside my comfort zone as I got to co-host a radio show with a Carroll communication alumnus and have even played intramural volleyball and basketball. During my junior and senior years, I look forward to serving as a student alumni ambassador. I am someone who craves being busy, and feels most satisfied when I am an active part of the community. Although studying for nursing is definitely a time commitment, I love the fact that I am able to still continue with activities I enjoy.

If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?

To anyone starting nursing school I humbly say this: Follow your heart! If you feel a calling to become a nurse, go for it and strive to become the type of nurse that you would want taking care of yourself someday. There will definitely be highs and lows of nursing school…that’s the nature of the beast. When you do make a mistake though, forgive yourself and move on, but don’t forget the lesson you learned from it! Study hard and above all, do everything with integrity. Finally, the best piece of advice I was once given is “If your only goal for studying is to get good grades, you will not be successful. The successful student is the one who studies because they feel responsible for the well-being of their future patients.”

Why did you choose to attend Carroll University?

I could’ve easily attended a college hours away, but when it came time to choose a school, I chose Carroll University… a campus which sits a mere ten miles from the house I grew up in. The transition to college wasn’t huge for me, but the opportunities I’ve had while being here have been. Carroll University has cared for me in all aspects of my life. Academically, Carroll has provided me with an education that is highly distinguished. To put “Carroll University” on my resume when I apply for a professional job is nothing less than a privilege. Emotionally, Carroll has given me a second home. Pioneers pride themselves on the close-knit community that is created on campus, and the relationships that I have built, both professionally and personally, will impact my life forever.

Throughout my college experience, I’ve always felt that I’ve been cared for as a person and not regarded as a number... that’s something that you can pay a lot of money for, but never receive at “big name schools.” Carroll cares, plain and simple, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

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