UCC Mainstream Online

Nursing Program: healing our community

Alex Estrada / Mainstream

Although hard to believe, many different fields of study at UCC and many people unassociated with UCC benefit from the campus nursing program. The largest connection stringing successful nursing students and faculty together is community involvement.

“I see students that are eager to give back to our community and bridge connections to those around them,” Tamra Samson, UCC’s department chair and associate professor in nursing, said.

The nursing program is a competitive and extensive program to be accepted into. Much is expected of these students. “Nursing students at UCC are required six hours of community service a term,” Samson said. That may not seem hefty, but these students are also putting in long hours in the classroom and during their down time on the weekends.

Natasha Kress, a current UCC nursing student, said, “Mondays I have a Chronic class from eight to ten, with every other week adding on a seminar which goes to 12. Thursday I have Pharmacology from nine to 12 p.m. and Pathophysiology from 1 to 4 p.m..” And even though nursing students are only required six hours of community service a term, many go beyond what is expected.

Ally Wellington, a UCC Licensed Nurse Practitioner graduate, said, “I would just say bye-bye to social life because your weekends turn into being all about typing case studies, reflection papers, and being involved in community service. Although it took up a lot of our time, it was a great experience for us to learn and to reach out to people.”

Alex Estrada / Mainstream
Kimberly Daley, Sierra Smith, Stacy Turner and other nursing students are involved in “hands on” classes, often called clinicals, that give them a practical hospital experience.


Samson stated that the nursing faculty receives requests from the community to assign students to local outreach programs.

Wellington said, “A lot of fellow students would get together and set up blood pressure booths throughout the community on our own time outside of the classroom and clinicals in places such as post offices, grocery stores, carnivals, and even at the fair.” The nursing students’ service has affected the campus as well. “We also helped a lot with setting up the learning garden at the Woolley Center,” Wellington said.

“It creates a connection with people you care for.” —Donna Wellington, Associate Professor

By working in the community through volunteering, nursing students say they have made strong, valuable networks.

The nursing program “does provide good public relations to the community,” said Donna Wellington, an associate professor in nursing, “and so much more; it creates a connection with people you care for.”

Nursing students also give back to other UCC students through tutoring in the Success Center.  No matter what major a student is pursuing, they can head to the Success Center to be welcomed by nursing students eager to help.

Nursing students are also involved in AHEC.        “AHEC stands for Area Health Education Center, and it enables students in high school to be mentored by our own nursing students, obtaining credits and the ability to job shadow and get opportunities to further their education in any health care environment,” Samson said.

The UCC nursing program strives to better itself and the community, and many people locally benefit from the nursing students’ hard work, determination and involvement in curriculum and local healthcare needs.