Hannah Johnston is pursuing degrees in both nursing and biology at UAH. Below, in her words, is a recollection of the first-semester of the UAH Nursing Program.
Michael Mercier | UAH

Reflections on First Semester 
by Hannah Johnston

Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical during nursing school orientation in August - my classmates and I were told that we were beginning a “five-semester-long transformation”, and I wasn’t exactly sure if that was romanticized exaggeration or seasoned candor. I was under the impression that I was simply gaining five semesters’ worth of nursing knowledge.” But at the time, I failed to realize that this “transformation” would be so much more than mere words in a textbook. 

Nursing school thus far has transformed me in ways unmatched by anything else I have encountered. It has not only taught me critical thinking, but it’s helped me refine my judgment skills to teach me how to logically find the best answer to anything I encounter. When I’m faced with a problem in my daily life, I’ve found myself using the same logic I use on nursing exams to figure out the best answer to my problem. 

I have now caught myself thinking, “What’s the best way to do this?” 

And, “What makes the most sense?” 

“How can I accomplish this in the most efficient way? What can I do to help make this easier on someone else?” 

“What problems might arise, but also, how can I mitigate those problems before they become a reality?” 

In nursing school, your classmates are the people you laugh with, cry with, rant with, brave things with, and figure out the unknown with. You spend hours alongside your classmates in classes and clinical; in doing so, you form friendships for a lifetime. As a student pursuing dual degrees in biology and nursing, I was unfamiliar with this aspect of nursing until beginning this semester. A sense of close-knit community was something I had been yearning for prior to nursing school, and I can say with certainty that I have finally found it at the UAH College of Nursing. 

With all of this said, it has only taken the first semester of nursing school to transform me in all of these wonderful ways. I am eager to begin second semester in the spring, where I’ll learn more hands-on skills, such as starting IVs and inserting catheters, while both broadening and deepening the groundwork of knowledge that first semester has endowed upon me. The pursuit of knowledge never ceases, and this especially rings true for the field of nursing. As I progress through the next four semesters, I plan to remain steadfast in my studying as though someone’s life depends on it - because soon, it very well will.