Day in the life of a UND nursing student

By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald

She sets her alarm on weekdays for 5:30 a.m., and she jumps in the shower when it rings. She slips into her green nursing scrubs.

“I always listen to the 6 o’clock news,” says Amanda Lako, a third semester nursing student at UND.

From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., on a typical day she’s in classes, sometimes at the Public Health Department at the Grand Forks County Office building, sometimes at the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at UND and sometimes at Altru Hospital.

In her rush for class, she might bring a baggie with dry cereal in it to eat. “I’m terrible,” she said. She depends on coffee to keep her running. And there are times when she is so tired that she sets her alarm to ring in eight minutes. She gives herself a short, short nap.

The road to a degree as an RN, or registered nurse, is long and challenging.

Amanda Lako is one of 324 students in the undergraduate baccalaureate program at UND. Lako is a junior in her third of five semesters. Beyond that, there will be a semester of practical work in a hospital setting before she graduates in December 2014.

She is passionate about nursing.

“It is a calling,” she told me. “Once you start it you know if it is right for you. There has to be a big desire.”

For Lako, that desire began when she was growing up on a farm near Arthur, N.D. She was 4 when she started shadowing an aunt who was a nurse. She had other aunts who were nurses.

She was smitten with nursing. As a freshman at UND, she became a CAN, or certified nurse assistant. And, she said, “I loved each and every one of the residents I helped.”

Her work as a CNA taught her how to relate to patients. “It was amazing to work on the CNA float pool at Altru. I worked on every floor wearing my light baby blue scrubs,” she said.

Her class of 52 has five male students. And Lako thinks it is awesome for a man to go into the career. “It takes the kind of men who have the biggest hearts and are so kind and gentle.”

In Lako’s mind, nurses are selfless. She admires people who have been her mentors including her school nurse, her church leaders. And she said, “Certain people just push you. I was adopted and I think I learned to be selfless from my parents.”

She isn’t always that serious. She works away at the pages of papers she must keep on patients. And she gets supper around 7 to 8 p.m.

Then there are the times in the evenings when she sits around the kitchen table with four other nursing students. They live together.

“We laugh, we sing, we complain. I depend on them to lighten things up.” 

UND’s nursing program

UND offered non-degree courses of study for nurses beginning in 1909.

In 1949, the first baccalaureate program in nursing was established and a Division of Nursing was created at UND. The same year, the State Board of Higher Education authorized the creation of the College of Nursing as a unit on campus.

The baccalaureate program was fully accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1963 and has remained accredited since that time, according to information provided by Lucy Heintz, clinical assistant professor and director of the Office of Student Services.

In 2013, in addition to the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, the College of Nursing was joined by the Department of Social Work and the name was officially changed to the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines.

Currently, the Department of Nursing has 324 students in its undergraduate baccalaureate program. The graduate program with 269 enrolled offers two doctoral programs. Master of Science degrees are available.

The graduate program has an enrollment of 269.

Source: Grand Forks Herald

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