From English Teacher to Emergency Room Nurse

In Her Own Words: Sara Beth Jones

When did you graduate from ECPI University?

I graduated from ECPI’s Orlando Campus (Sandford/Lake Mary) in January 2022 after completing the accelerated BSN RN program.

What motivated you to want to pursue your degree?

Prior to going back to school for nursing, I was a middle and high school English teacher. My students are the reason that I wanted to pursue a degree, and it was one of my students who gave me the idea to go back to school for nursing. He asked me if I could go back and do it all over again, would I become a teacher again? I immediately said, “Absolutely not. I’d become a nurse.” He followed up by saying, “Don’t you think it’s hypocritical if you tell us to follow our dreams and you aren’t following yours?” I began taking the steps shortly thereafter to become a nurse.

Why did you choose ECPI? 

I chose ECPI for 2 reasons. The first reason is because it was a 12-month program. The second reason is because one of the nurses that I worked with at the ER prior to enrolling graduated from ECPI. She is one of the most fantastic nurses I have ever worked with, and I wanted the same education she had, so I could become a fraction as knowledgeable as her.

Did you face any obstacles will attending school?

I did face a huge obstacle while attending school. I worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) during the pandemic in a Level 1 Trauma Center, despite being told from the very beginning of the program to not work while going through it because of the workload and amount of studying that must happen outside of the classroom. They were not joking! I worked night shift. During the week, I would go to school all day, work a partial shift until 3 in the morning, then be back at school the next day. On the weekend, I would work full 12-hour shifts.

I overcame this obstacle through the encouragement and advice from Dr. Haylett. She gave me the advice that while I was working to ask questions regarding policy and procedures to everyone: physicians, nurses, and leadership alike. Because of that advice, my work environment became my study time. I would ask nurses to go into the room when they were placing foleys, inserting NG tubes, or administering blood. I would ask doctors to explain 12-lead EKG interpretations, CT or Xray imaging, or the rationale behind the plan of care for the patient. I took manual blood pressures on patients, felt for pulses, and would implement what I was learning into my practice as a CNA. Had Dr. Haylett not taken the time to encourage me and help me intertwine school and work, there is no way I would have been successful in school or at work.

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