Alanis Vazquez-Colon ‘23 is a recently graduated nursing major who is putting her education into action by helping patients as a nurse at Umass Memorial Hospital’s Medical/Surgical Unit. Alanis always says that she has two hometowns; Arecibo, Puerto Rico where she was born and Worcester, MA where she has lived since she was 8 years old. A proud Anna Maria grad, Alanis is happy to share how a career ready education allowed her to go from the classroom to the surgical room.
What inspired you to study nursing at AMC/become a nurse?
I wanted a career that was science-based and meaningful. Nursing caught my attention since I was a child. I made up my mind that I wanted to be a nurse.
I chose Anna Maria College because the nursing program is one of the best in Massachusetts. Their success rates for passing the NCLEX are high. This is the number one reason I decided to come to Anna Maria.
In addition, it is small. Professors have more time to help students, so it feels more personal here.
Describe your relationship with the nursing faculty.
My relationship with the nursing faculty was in unison and accord, but with every relationship, there were good and bad moments. Nursing school is complex, and the faculty has a job to do. As a nursing student, your sole focus is passing the semester. Despite the hard class work, the faculty always tried to make nursing fun. For example, the Student Nursing Association (SNA) had Halloween Jeopardy events, and when there was an SNA meeting, they brought cookies and hot chocolate. The faculty put in so much effort to make nursing less stressful.
How did your education prepare you for your new job?
My education prepared me for my new job by providing me with the skills to succeed, and challenging courses which taught me critical thinking skills.
What advice would you give to nursing students?
My advice to nursing students will be to take nursing school day by day. Focus on the now rather than on what is coming next semester. If they focus too much on the future, they could get overwhelmed. Focus on things you can control. A test grade does not determine who they are as a student or who they will be as a nurse. Test grades have an enormous significance in nursing school, but they do not determine who you are as a person. Take care of your mental and physical health. That is the most important thing. Also, try to have fun! Enjoy the little moments.
What are your goals for your career as a nurse?
My goals for my nursing career include getting a lot of hands-on experience and challenging myself by working in different departments. I also think it would be interesting to work in another country as a nurse. Ultimately, I just want to work hard and enjoy my career in the nursing profession.
What do you think is the most important quality for a nurse to have?
The most essential quality for a nurse to have is patience. Working with people is hard. You are going to have good days and bad days and the healthcare system is complicated. This means that patience is key.
What are you most looking forward to in your new career as a nurse?
I am excited to put what I learn in nursing school into my career and learn new skills. I look forward to the future of healthcare, what it can bring me, and what I can contribute to my nursing career.