ryan jones l

Meet Ryan Jones - a junior nursing major from Kansas! Ryan may not be in Kansas anymore, but he has made quite the impact at UAH. Read more to find out why he chose UAH and how he incorporates his passion for people into his nursing career.

1. Where are you from and what drew you to UAH?

I’m from Overland Park, Kansas, which is right outside of Kansas City. A lot of people ask me how I got all the way down to Alabama from Kansas. I have three reasons for it. First, the scholarships at UAH were better for me than anywhere in Kansas. Second, the nursing program was 5 semesters so I would have more clinical time and more time to figure out exactly what I want to do in nursing. Lastly, my older brother was already in school at UAH so I was semi familiar with the school.

2. What stood out to you the most about UAH when you enrolled here?

The people!!! Everyone on this campus wants me to succeed. As a freshman I had many people tell me about all the opportunities on campus and they continued to nudge me in those directions. I’ve been an Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, and a part of Freshman Forum all because the community at UAH saw my potential and helped me reach it, and continue to do so.

3. Have you always known that you wanted to study nursing?

I have always wanted to work directly with people and in human health. While that can be found in many jobs in healthcare, nursing has so many different fields, and I know the program at UAH will help me find what type of nurse I’ll be best at. 

4. Can you explain the process of clinicals a little bit?

The first semester of clinicals is 3 hours a week in the learning technology resource center and learning how to do assessments of every body system. We would have check-offs where we would have to perform an assessment with our clinical instructor present. At the end of the semester, we would have to do a whole mock bedside assessment which takes about twenty minutes and it is extremely nerve-wracking but so important! Next semester, I’ll be on the floor in a hospital with seven other students for nine hours a day and twice a week.

5. What is your favorite thing about the College of Nursing here at UAH?

The professors!! They push you and challenge you so you can be the best you can be. Dr. Guerra, a clinical assistant professor, convinced me to go to an Association of Nursing Students meeting once and next thing you know, I had been elected as my nursing cohort’s representative! One time, we had a lecture on clotting on a Friday and then a test on it on Monday. Because it was a quick turnaround, our professor gave us her cell phone number in case we had any questions, so we could understand the material and do our best on the test. Also, the faculty cover every scope of nursing, from critical care to home health, from flight nursing to sexual assault examination, and from community health research to health care law. They cover everything and share their nursing backgrounds with you so that you can develop into the most holistic and flexible nurse possible!

6. So far in your nursing education, how have clinicals contributed to your learning experience?

Clinicals are your learning experience. Of course, in the classroom, our professors will share important lessons they have learned, but there is nothing like actually doing and learning for yourself. We have simulations where you go into a patient's room, (the patient is a high fidelity mannequin) and have to perform an assessment and call the doctor. It is recorded on camera and microphone so you and your clinical group can watch what you did wrong and what you did right. It makes me a little nervous because everyone will know what I did wrong but that is a learning process for my classmates. The constructive criticism and accountability are two factors that will help improve healthcare as a whole. 

7. What resources does UAH offer that have helped you in your nursing career?

The Student Success Center offered PASS, (Peer Assisted Study Session) for the first time during my Pathophysiology class, and I treated it as another class. On Wednesday nights I would be in the nursing building and Melissa Milton, who took the class the semester before and made a high ‘A’, would review the last concept and go over the next concept so when I walked in to class I was confident and prepared to answer and ask the hard questions. I got an ‘A’ in that class and I owe much of that success to the Student Success Center. 

8. How has your passion for nursing benefited you in other areas of your life?

Nursing is about assessing a complex person as a whole and intervening in a way that is best for the patient. My passion for nursing has taught me that I have limits and can’t do everything and that’s okay. It has taught me the importance of advocacy, whether for yourself or for others. Sometimes, YOU have to speak up and fight for what is important. It has also taught me the importance of fidelity. If you say you’re going to do something, you better do it. Nursing has also taught me to look at everything with multiple perspectives to fully understand anything. 

9. What is the most rewarding part about clinicals?

Seeing how far you’ve come. I remember when I was learning how to take a blood pressure, and I thought it was complicated because of all the little details you have to take into account. Now, when I take a blood pressure it is one of the easiest things I have to do. 

10. How has the nursing program here at UAH helped you grow as a person?

If you know me, you know I am not the most organized person ever, but nursing school has helped change that. Nursing school is hard, but it is doable if you stay on topic and ahead of everything. I waste less time when I have free time now, and nursing school has made me more conscious of my exercise and diet, which are both so important for your health. It has also taught me more about other cultures, spiritualities, and even some of my own biases, so I can provide better care to my patients.

Ryan is a great example of how you can succeed at UAH if you know where to find the right resources! He has done a great job of getting involved on campus and showing his passion for people for the UAH community. Ryan’s perseverance and determination to be a fantastic nurse will get him far in his career!