As a labor and delivery nurse, Andrea takes part in the best and worst moments for expectant mothers.
“It means the world to me,” Andrea said. “Being able to talk to moms, take care of them and give them and their baby a good experience is the best feeling in the world.”
Unfortunately, not all of the outcomes in the delivery room are ideal. But as a mother of four, who has had to deal with the loss of a newborn herself, Andrea said she always finds purpose in supporting the mothers.
“I had four very different birthing experiences, all the way from a baby born in the NICU, to a baby dying, to a normal birth,” she said.
It was during those occasions that Andrea realized working as a nurse with expectant mothers was her calling and in 2013, she decided to enroll at West Coast University-Dallas to obtain her degree in nursing degree.
“West Coast definitely helped me feel like I was able to help those people,” she said. “From the very beginning, they set clear expectations and started helping to prepare you for how to answer questions and how to think outside the box as a nurse.”
“The whole process was very streamlined and efficient,” Andrea said. “They made me feel like they really appreciated the fact that I wanted to come there.”
As a mother to three children and a working professional prior to beginning her nursing education, Andrea noted the flexibility WCU offered and how accommodating the school was with their students.
During her nursing core, an Ebola outbreak at some hospitals in Dallas pulled her and fellow nursing students from their clinicals. However, Andrea was able to continue her learning experience in the WCU simulation labs.
“The scenarios were really good. You could watch yourself on video to see how you did and get feedback,” she said.
In the simulation labs Andrea was able to start IVs, deliver babies from a mannequin and go through the entire nursing process. She identified the life and death simulations as particularly helpful in learning how to talk to family members and prepare the patient bodies.
When clinicals resumed, Andrea spoke highly of the opportunity to visit different hospitals and watch the classroom education play out in front of her.
“Our professors made sure we were given the opportunity to not only see what we were learning about but get hands-on experience with our clinical rotations,” she said.
“I was able to see six deliveries on the first day I was there. Others only saw one or just a cesarean section. They were really good at letting us do things and participate in as much as we could. It wasn’t just about watching the delivery. They let us see the charting and paperwork and checkups.”
After completing the program, Andrea said she felt prepared to enter the workforce. Once she graduated on August 15, Andrea and her husband moved to Florida. There she was accepted into a year-long residency program at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville.