Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Leadership lived: Future nurse learns important lessons at UIS

Karen Seegers grew up in a small town and knew she wanted to attend a university where her professors would know her name. She’s glad she chose the nursing program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“I’m really happy with the small class sizes and the really nice people around,” she said. “It’s just an amazing community.”

Seegers enjoys helping people and wants to work as an emergency flight nurse and eventually become a nurse practitioner.

“I want to become a nurse because I want to be able to give patients hope,” she said. “I want to be a support system for their families and make sure they have a comfortable stay and be an interpreter between the doctor and what they understand.”

Seegers calls her UIS Nursing Program education “extraordinary” and has already taken classes in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry.

“I’ve had the best professors so far,” she said. “My professor, Mr. Holland, he’s my anatomy and physiology professor, he just obviously wants us to succeed and he does everything in his power that he can for it to happen.”

Seegers admits that the classes are hard, but she says she’s learning a lot and feels well prepared for her career as a nurse.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be,” she said. “A few of my family members have been through it and they said it was difficult, but it’s extremely difficult. It should be.”

At UIS, Seegers is also part of the Leadership for Life living-learning community. It is a service and leadership program for first year students located in Lincoln Residence Hall. Students are required to complete 40 hours of service each semester.

In October 2016, Seegers and a group of 25 other students traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help flood victims clean up their homes. The students stripped homes down to the studs, so they could dry out, and removed personal belongings damaged by the flood.

“It was really hard,” she said. “We were just taking all of the stuff out of their house and we were talking to the homeowner and he was obviously devastated with everything that happened. We got to save some of his stuff, but a lot of it we didn’t get to save at all. It was really upsetting.”

Seegers plans to use the compassion she’s learned from volunteering to help better understand and treat her future patients.

“I want to be able to show them compassion and everything for what they’re going through,” she said. “I want to provide them support and help them throughout their journey.”

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