My Journey Through PUC’s Nursing Program, Part 1

By Rachel Dunbar

Choosing to major in nursing at PUC was one of my best decisions I have ever made. I heard about the program through a friend’s older sister who went through it, and loved it. I knew I wanted to be at PUC so that was all I needed to hear. As with most people trying to get into any program I asked myself questions like, “Will I even get in?” “What will I do if I don’t get in?” I had all sorts of doubts, but I knew nursing was God’s calling for me; so I pursued it head on.

At the end of my freshman year, I decided to apply for fall quarter 2014; in the back of my mind I had a feeling my GPA wasn’t going to be competitive enough for fall admission, but I applied anyway. You’re probably thinking, “She’s going to get in because of the way she’s leading up to it,” But I actually didn’t get accepted into the program on my first try. I knew God had a plan for me, but the rejection was still hard to swallow. I talked with my nursing advisor and figured out I needed to raise my GPA if I wanted a better chance at acceptance for winter quarter. That summer I re-took General Psychology and raised my GPA for the September application deadline. I remember all the doubts flooding my mind once again. I would go round and round thinking, “They only accept 27 students each quarter; why would they pick me?” Looking back, God had a plan all along. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I got the acceptance email: I was at work at the fitness center when I saw the email; I remember seeing the “Congratulations” at the top of the unopened email and I knew I was in! The relief and excitement I felt was like nothing else. I immediately called my family to share the good news.

After the excitement wore off; I was instantly nervous and anxious about what the program would hold. I think the biggest thing that scares people is the fear of the unknown; and that’s exactly what I was feeling. The first week of nursing school was like no other; I remember feeling like I was completely submerged under water without a life preserver in sight. As time passed; I began to take control of my schedule and manage my time accordingly. One of the biggest things that helped me through nursing school was knowing my 26 classmates were going through the same things I was; and feeling the same things. If they were going to get through it; so was I.

What scared me the most about nursing school was the 75 percent test average; separate from the class score. I was never a good test taker in high school and seriously doubted if I would even make it past the first quarter. I remember studying for my first test and having no idea what to expect. All of our tests are on computers to prepare for the NCLEX (nursing licensure exam) style testing. Sitting in front of a computer screen waiting for the exam password so I could start put every nerve in my body on edge. The most nerve-racking time is after you’ve submitted the exam and are waiting for your score to pop up. I remember I got an 85 percent on my first nursing test and I realized, I can do this. The score helped me realize the program was not impossible.

I began to learn a lot about myself and my study habits. I realized I needed to study more. I would start studying 10 days in advance because I just couldn’t retain the information well. Some of my classmates would study the night before and get a good score. I was never like that. The best advice I can give anyone planning on being a nursing student is to learn how YOU need to study nursing style information the best and that will help you get through each quarter.

Interested in learning more about the nursing program at PUC? If you visit the Admissions website, you can find more information about the program, curriculum guidesheets, and a live chat where you can ask an enrollment counselor anything you need. You can also call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu for more help.

The Basics of PUC’s Nursing Program

One of PUC’s largest programs is the nursing program. While it’s popularity is undeniable, the application process can be a bit confusing. We enlisted the help of recent nursing graduate Rachel Dunbar to help make the process clearer. Read on for a very detailed look at the nursing program!

Applying to the AS Program

  • The AS in Nursing (Associate of Science degree in Nursing), also called the Registered Nursing (RN) program, is typically completed in three years. Most students take one year of general education classes and then try to apply for fall quarter; to start the 2-year AS degree portion. The actual nursing portion/classes consists of two years, which is six quarters of coursework. The first year students spend taking English, communication, general psychology, and other general education requirements to get into the program—not any nursing classes yet. These students are considered pre-nursing until they apply and get accepted to the nursing program.
  • Yes, you have to apply for the nursing program. Just because you were accepted to PUC doesn’t mean you’re accepted to the nursing program. PUC typically accepts 27 people each quarter.
  • PUC has made it so you can apply for any quarter (Fall: starts in September, Winter: starts in January, or Spring: starts in April). So if you need one more class before you can get into the program, you can take it in the fall and apply for winter quarter instead. Or; if by chance, you don’t get in, you can retake a class or two to raise your GPA and reapply for the next quarter. It’s a huge plus because you don’t have to wait a whole year before applying again. I recommend reading the curriculum guidesheet for more information about the requirements for the nursing program at PUC.

The AS Program

  • Once you finish the three years (one for general education classes, and two nursing program years) you have completed the AS (RN) requirements and are ready to take the state boards, actually licensing you as an RN.
  • The AS is the actual diploma/degree you will receive, but it makes you eligible to take state boards to become a registered nurse (RN) as far as your title.
  • PUC’s program is what they call a 2-step program; meaning it is split between the RN and the BSN portions. You can come back to PUC to finish the last year; or you can go elsewhere.
  • What the AS (RN) program consists of:
    • The two year AS program (after you finish your general education and get into the program) consists of six quarters (two years) of actual nursing courses.
    • Each quarter you typically take two nursing classes.
    • Sidenote: The first year you don’t have enough credits to be considered a full load (12) so you need to take a class outside of the program to receive financial aid. It can be exercise science, religion, etc., as long as you meet the 12 credits.
      • A note about religion classes: You have to have three classes (nine credits) of religion before you can graduate with the two year AS degree. They suggest you get them done within the first year of the program (quarters one through three) because the second year (quarters four through six) is busier.

First Year of the AS Program

  • First year:
    • You take Medical Surgical (Med-Surg as it is referred to) quarters one through three. The Med-Surg floor of the hospital is the floor where you see just about everything. Each Med-Surg class is broken down into different topics like heart disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and many other disease processes. For the first year your Med-Surg class is the one that has a clinical attached to it. So you will be at a local hospital one day a week. First quarter is typically four hours, then eight hours for 2nd and 3rd quarters. The second class you take varies depending what quarter you’re in. So first quarter is Med-Surg one (or nursing one as we call it) and Health Assessment, which is all about how you assess a patient effectively and what clinical manifestations you should see with certain disease processes. Second quarter is Med-Surg two (or nursing two) and Pharmacology. Third quarter is Med-Surg three (nursing three) and Pathophysiology, which is where you learn how the most common disease processes occur in the body.
    • You also have what are called skills tests. You have a certain amount each quarter in the skills lab. You learn skills like how to give medications and the proper steps to follow, how to take vital signs correctly, and a few others. Each skill you learn you do in front of the skills lab professor without prompting to pass. You have three tries to get them right. If you don’t pass the first time the teachers walk through it with you step by step to help with what you missed before you take it again.

Second Year of the AS Program

  • Second year and preceptorship (6th quarter):
    • You take Medical Surgical quarters four through six. For quarters four and five, you continue with the Med-Surg clinical once a week, but now you also have a clinical for your other course at a different hospital, which gives you two clinicals a week plus class time. This is why they want you to get your religion credits taken care of prior to the heavier load. Second year there are varying hospital/shift options for clinicals and I won’t go into every single one. The hospitals change; giving most people some sort of commute depending on what you choose. They try to give you your first or second choice, but that can’t always happen. So, fourth quarter you take Med-Surg four (nursing four) and Mental Health with a clinical as well where you study all kinds of mental health related issues such as bipolar, and schizophrenia. You have one clinical on a Med-Surg floor and then the other clinical is at a behavioral health center. Fifth quarter you take Med-Surg five and Obstetrics (or OB as we call it). You get to learn all about infants and many different things that can happen during pregnancy. You continue with the Med-Surg clinical and then you have an OB clinical as well.
  • During one spring quarter, you’ll also take Pediatrics, which will extend into the summer with a 2-week clinical and class rotation at a children’s hospital.

Important Things to Know

  • Test Averages
    • Within the entire program; for every class, you need to have a class score of 75 percent and a test average score of 75 percent.
      • Sidenote: If you decide to major in nursing, you need to get a C (75 percent) in ALL classes pertaining to the AS degree, even if you’re already in the program and taking a religion class. You need to get a 75 percent in that religion class or it will not count toward your AS degree. However, the test average rule does not apply to other classes outside the actual program courses.
      • If you don’t get a 75 percent in the class or test average, you will need to re-take that quarter if there is an available spot. Most of the time the class score isn’t tough; it’s the test average that can be difficult depending on the quarter.
    • Passing vs. Not passing
      • There aren’t very many things that keep you from passing nursing school, but they’re all important.
      • The class score/test score as mentioned above.
      • Skills tests, which need to be completed without prompting within the third try.
      • Clinicals
        • Each clinical is pass or fail. There isn’t a score associated. The biggest thing with clinical is just to be safe. If you’re not sure; ask!
        • There is clinical paperwork due each week which can hinder you from passing if you choose not to complete it.
      • Dosage and Calculations
        • At the beginning of each quarter (besides first), you have what is called a dosage and calculations test. First quarter, you start learning how to calculate meds, and then you are tested during the first week of every quarter thereafter. For quarters two and three (first year), you need to obtain an 80 percent to pass. For quarters four through six (second year), you need a 90 percent to pass. You have three tries to obtain the proper score, but you cannot go to clinical until you have passed; proving that you are safe to administer medications. You have to wait 48 hours between each try; which could hinder a clinical day if you need all three tries.

Wow! That was a lot of information! I hope it helped clear up any questions you had about the nursing program at PUC. Maybe you have more questions, which is totally fine! If you visit PUC’s Admissions website, you can find more information, curriculum guidesheets, and a live chat where you can ask an enrollment counselor anything you need. You can also call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu for more help.

Class Spotlight: Marine Science

The Marine Scicence class following an excursion on San Francisco Bay.

The Marine Scicence class following an excursion on San Francisco Bay.

by Charidan Jackson

Marine Science with Dr. Floyd Hayes was an amazing adventure. We were privileged to learn from someone who has had firsthand experience with many of the creatures we learned about. His stories of scuba diving and marine research made the material easier to learn.

To engage us further with the material, Dr. Hayes took us on a variety of field trips. We rode on the research vessel, Robert G. Brownlee, in the San Francisco Bay to learn about four areas of oceanographic study. We broke up into groups and learned benthology, hydrology, planktology, and ichthyology. Each station was very hands on, requiring students to use the machinery marine researchers use on a daily basis. We used micronets, YSI machines, Van Dorn bottles, and the Peterson mud grab to collect data and specimen. I especially enjoyed using the dichotomous key to identify the fish we caught. The whole experience broadened my understanding of marine life and the work marine scientists do.

The trip to Bodega Bay Research Facility was also eye-opening. There we learned about the research graduate students and marine scientists are currently conducting on animals such as the endangered white abalone. We talked extensively with the scientist in charge of the survival of the species. She told us about her practical struggles keeping the abalone alive that is threatened by infection from bacteria that are more prevalent as water temperatures increase. She showed us how the discovery of a bacteriophage is already helping to grow the captive populations and hopefully safe the species. The research facility was especially amazing because it showed us firsthand the tedious yet challenging work required to save endangered species.

The longest and most exciting trip this quarter was the trip to the Farallon Islands. We left from the San Francisco Bay in an all-day whale watching vessel with a group of individuals passionate about marine life. As we left the bay, the swells were large and the air was cold, but as we got further out, the beauty of the Pacific Ocean was before us. Harbor seals were seen following the boat and showing a playful display called porpoising. A blue shark swam right up to the boat; it seemed mere feet away. Porpoises were graciously jumping out the water. A single gray whale was very diligently migrating south. Thousands of breeding marine birds were nesting on the secluded rocks of the Farallon Islands. We were lucky enough to see at least 10 humpback whales; the males were singing and performing majestic breaches for what seemed like hours. The trip was an educational and life-changing experience. Never have I felt that close to nature in its undisturbed form. The Farallon Islands are really a special place.

I am so happy I took the class and got to see and learn more about the creatures God created.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website.

Student Research Profile: Seong Hwang

Seong devoted many hours to a study of Alzheimer’s disease.

Seong devoted many hours to a study of Alzheimer’s disease.

Meet Seong Hwang, a senior biology major. Last summer, Seong conducted research out of PUC’s very own Clark Hall microbiology lab. After college, he plans to go on to dental school.

Tell us about your research.

I participated in research that studied of how over consumption of food could expedite the process of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, I also learned to grow and proliferate C. elegans in their respective medium to be tested for research.

What did you learn during your research?

Although my colleagues and I failed to get the consistency in our data, I learned to formulate ideas to arrange the procedure for the particular experiment. I also learned the behavior and life stage of C. elegans. In addition, working with my colleagues also helped me to understand about teamwork and how fun it is to be in lab.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

At PUC, there are many great professors who have many years of research experience. When I had hard time figuring out the procedure for the research, Dr. Sung not only sent me helpful articles but also spent many hours with me in the lab teaching me how to use research tools in the microbiology lab for the experiments. Unlike big universities, many professors at PUC are willing to help students in their research, so don’t waste the opportunities you have as a biology or environmental studies major.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website

Find Where You Belong

By Andrew Mahinay

PUC is an environment where friendly faces can be found. A majority of the student body come from Adventist academies and have likely met each other countless times over their four years in high school. However, there are also many students who come from public schools or even different states and might not know anyone, which can be intimidating. Don’t worry, if you are one of those studentsPUC has created effective solutions to this.

PUC is an amazing place and the social life is lively. Student Association officers planned events where students can interact with each other on a weekly basis, such as the Poor Man’s banquet and movie nights. You can find many groups with diverse interests here on campus: Rock climbers, moviegoers, lovers of food, worship bands, intramural competitors, and the list goes on.

From the start of their PUC experience, freshmen go on the Fusion Retreat, where they spend several days at a camp together. It’s an excellent place to build relationships. Students get to zip line, swim, worship together, and act in talent shows.

Even with all this, you may find a new best friend in a place you least expect.

The funny thing is, I did not meet my best friends at any of these events. My first day on campus, I met one of my best friends in a Newton Hall community bathroom, an awkward place to meet someone. Later that day, we talked and realized we had the same appreciation for things like sports, fitness, and Southern California, where both of us are originally from. He told me he attended a public school near Long Beach, Calif., and he was the only student from his school to attend PUC, meaning he knew absolutely no one.

We talked some more and he told me about his plans of working as a firefighter, then later in life as a fire chief. I told him about my goals of attending law school and practicing the law. We were both eager and motivated to succeed in college. I truly believe our similar mindsets of wanting to achieve great things was the significant factor that established such a strong friendship between us.

In no way are college responsibilities easy. Of course, you are going to have your high points in life, like going on your first date, exploring hiking trails, and (hopefully) getting accepted into a graduate program. But you will experience low points, and stressful and mind numbing times. It is important you choose friends who will be there for you during your highs and your lows, who will support and encourage you to be a better person, push you to exceed your expectations, and inspire you to reach your full potential.

PUC can be one of the best experiences of your life as long as you have the right friends alongside you every step of the way. It is my hope you find long-lasting friendships here.

Student Research Profile: Erika Thalman and Emily Castellanos

Emily and Erika collaborated with Dr. Floyd Hayes on a study of two bird species native to Paraguay.

Emily and Erika collaborated with Dr. Floyd Hayes on a study of two bird species native to Paraguay.

Meet Erika Thalman and Emily Castellanos, both junior biology majors. Last summer, they conducted research in various locations in the South American country of Paraguay. After PUC, Erika plans to go into the field of marine biology and eventually obtain a master’s degree, while Emily plans to go to veterinary school and become a wildlife veterinarian. 

Tell us about your research.

 We participated in a research project led by Dr. Hayes where we studied the calls of two birds, the Chaco nothura and the spotted nothura. We then compared the two birds calls to see how similar their call songs were and whether this suggest whether they could be the same or different species. In the field research portion we helped scout for the birds and recorded data and the field conditions while our guide operated the bird call recording equipment. Once we got back to school we edited the bird calls and analyzed the call sonograms to compare the vocal differences.

What did you learn during your research?

Erika: Before this trip I didn’t realize how much communication and collaboration with others takes place before, during, and after a project. I also learned it’s important to have a backup plan for a project in case something doesn’t go according to the original plan, such as if the research subjects are difficult to find or if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Emily: Following a lot of what Erika said, I also learned how to use previously recorded bird calls to initiate a response from a desired species as well as how much planning it takes before you can actually execute the methods for research.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Erika: Biological Foundations 113 lab really helped prepare me for research because it introduced me in how to design and carry out a research experiment and was reinforced by the Introduction to Research Methods course.

Emily: The class that really helped in preparing me for this trip was Introduction to Research Methods as it taught me how to construct and write about a research topic I make up myself. Other courses that really enhanced my experience were Ecology because it taught me various factors about animal distribution as well as environmental factors and Vertebrate Biology because of the bird section that is during the class.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website

Alumni Profile: Kyle Lemmon

Meet Kyle Lemmon, who graduated in 2007 with a public relations and journalism degree and currently works as the marketing manager at Psyonix, a video game development studio based in San Diego, Calif. We talked with Kyle and asked him to share about his day to day life at the studio and how PUC helped give him the tools he needed to become successful.

Tell us about yourself.

I’ve been a gamer ever since the Nintendo days and always wanted to work at a game studio I admired. I live in Vista, Calif., with my college sweetheart, Brooke (we met at PUC), and two fiercely independent daughters, Arden and Ava.

I started writing about TV, film, indie rock music, and video games as a journalist during college, before transitioning to qualitative video game market research at EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design and Research). I then finally made a move to Psyonix as the Marketing Manager for the Sports-Action hit, Rocket League, and have been there ever since. You can find us on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam (PC)!

What was your major at PUC?

I was a public relations and journalism major at PUC and graduated in 2007.

Describe your typical workday.

I oversee the Creative Services and general Marketing department alongside our VP of Publishing, Jeremy Dunham. A typical workday can range from talking to current and prospective licensees to working on setting up sales and various promotions on the PlayStation, Xbox One, and Steam storefronts. I also work alongside our PR, Production, Design, and Community teams to announce new game modes, general updates, and downloadable content for Rocket League since we like to put our community first and consistently expand on our game to give them new content to play. If you haven’t heard of Rocket League before you should check it out! It’s essentially rocket-boosted cars playing soccer and there’s a huge competitive esports scene as well. Here’s one of our latest trailers for two awesome Hot Wheels DLC Battle-Cars!

What is the most enjoyable part of your job? The most challenging?

Solid questions! The most enjoyable part of my job is no day or week is the same. I could be working to promote an outer-space-themed update like Starbase ARC one month and switch over to working on new licensed merchandise and toys with our partners the following week. I really love the wide variety of work and people I get to interact with here at Psyonix!

On the challenging side of things, I would say game development does come with some amount of work outside of the usual office hours and building out a small team has certainly been difficult, but highly rewarding at the same time. It’s nice to look around a room and see things changing and we all support each other, too. Our growing community of over 29 million players definitely inspires me to improve and aspire for bigger and better things.

How did your time at PUC help prepare you for your career?

My time at PUC prepared me for tight deadlines, which definitely come up in the video game industry. Sometimes you have to adjust on the fly and find another plan with a team when things change midstream. That was one of the key things I gleaned from college aside from the usual best practices for writing and communication. My Communication professors prepared me for my career by teaching that you should never stop looking at the world around you since there are daily opportunities to learn new things and improve yourself. 

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at PUC?

The most important thing I learned from my time in Angwin was to establish a strong work ethic and compassion for people working alongside you. I try to remember every day when I wake up. Many people believed in me so I try to do the same for others the best I can. I’m not always perfect 100 percent of the time, but the goal is to try my best and listen with an open heart and mind. This is something I learned from my dad and mom as well.

Who was your favorite professor while you were at PUC and why?

My favorite professor hands down was Dr. Victoria Mukerji. I will never forget my meetings with her over oatmeal and hot cocoa for the Campus Chronicle when we investigated a cult, reviewed films, and talked about world issues. She gave us a lot of free reign and I have sought out mentors who do the same. She was the most thought-provoking teacher at PUC by far and pushed her students to not just accept what was given to them in textbooks, but to investigate on their own outside of class. Curiosity is a tough thing to engender, but she managed to do just that with every class.

You served as editor of the Campus Chronicle, PUC’s student newspaper. What was your favorite thing about that experience?

I always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of seeing my work in print and announcing something people were excited to read about the next day. I still get chills whenever we announce a new update for Rocket League to this day for very similar reasons. It’s great to collaborate on something bigger than yourself!

What advice would you give to students who aspire to work in the video game industry?

The video game industry has historically been a very insular one that is hard to break into, but working in the marketing departments for other entertainment industries certainly will give you plenty of transferrable skills. Persistence and a clear vision for projects you are working on is also important. In terms of landing that first job, it’s good to be clear and concise with what you want to do at that company and create a reasonable plan to present to them. Passion is truly contagious. Asking someone you look up to for advice is also a great place to start. I consider myself truly honored and lucky to work in the video game industry.