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Celebrating National Nurses Week: A GCU Nursing Student Finds Her Calling

Student nurses

Laura Amdur (left) and Kaitlyn Popek (right) will each graduate with a B.S.N. in Nursing on May 20.

On May 20, Laura Amdur, Red Bank, will graduate from the Georgian Court University–Meridian Health School of Nursing. She also works as a patient care associate at Ocean Medical Center in Brick, where she takes vital signs and draws blood, as well as assists patients with daily living activities, such as dressing, feeding, bathing, and moving around. Laura and her classmate Kaitlyn Popek of nearby Howell recently completed their preceptorship—a clinical requirement for GCU’s Transition into Professional Nursing Practice course. Under the supervision of a preceptor—an experienced registered nurse—nursing students provide evidence-based care for multiple patients, perform skills and procedures, prioritize patient assignment activities, and collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary team. How did Laura find her passion for nursing and confirm that caring for others is her calling? Read on as Laura explains.

Ever since I was a little kid, I was fascinated by the world of health care. I would watch the Discovery Health Channel instead of cartoons, and I would always ask to put Band-Aids on my friends’ scrapes. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a nurse, but I always knew I wanted to be in the health care field. The summer before my senior year of high school, my mom mentioned Georgian Court University and the nursing program. I toured the campus and fell in love. I felt at home right away.

Laura (pictured) and Kaitlyn collected and analyzed emergency room triage data as part of their capstone project.

Once I began taking nursing classes, I felt the same passion and excitement from my childhood take on an entirely new form. I began to realize that I was entering into a profession that would challenge and fulfill me, not only intellectually, but also emotionally and spiritually.

Recently, during my preceptorship in an emergency department, my classmate Kaitlin and I were helping to take care of a very ill patient. This patient’s health status began to rapidly decompensate (become unstable), and then the patient went into cardiac arrest. Kaitlin and I provided chest compressions as the nurses administered emergency medications and prepared the defibrillator. I had performed CPR before during my job as a patient care associate (PCA), but the experience was still terrifying and surreal. However, the nurses, doctor, and PCAs were composed, professional, and efficient. Through this teamwork, the patient’s heart began beating again.

Afterward, it felt surreal. When I got home, my boyfriend asked me, “So, did you help save someone’s life today?” It didn’t occur to me until that moment to see it that way. The patient’s survival was the combined effort of a team, and for the first time, I saw myself not as a fumbling, nervous nursing student, but as an important part of that team.

Although the experience was nerve wracking, GCU’s excellent professors and clinical instructors have prepared me with the knowledge and skill to provide CPR and help provide the best outcome for the patient. GCU’s Mercy core values of compassion, respect, justice, service, and integrity have also instilled in me a deep sense of commitment to help others, despite any fear or self-doubt.

Contributed by Laura Amdur ’16, a GCU senior majoring in nursing

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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