We asked Viking Damaris Lopez '24, who comes to Salem State University from Framingham, about her experience in the Salem State School of Nursing.
What are you studying at Salem State?
“I major in nursing and minor in sociology and biology.”
Why did you decide to study nursing at Salem State?
“My interest in nursing began in AP biology, where I discussed with my teacher possible career options concerning biology. I was insistent on working with patients, which led me to the ideal career in nursing. The same year, I toured SSU and I immediately fell in love with the campus. After some research, I found out SSU had an amazing nursing program. The school became #1 on my college list.”
What has been your favorite nursing course at Salem State so far? Who taught it?
“The lab section of Health Assessment is my favorite nursing course. Paula Burnett became my lab professor a few weeks before the lab final and she fully prepared us to successfully pass the lab final. Professor Burnett has prepared me to become confident as a nursing student about to enter clinical, which can be very stress-inducing.”
Have you had any jobs or internships in the nursing field while studying at Salem State?
“While I have not had a job in the nursing field, I have worked with the elderly and with patients in the hospital as a Guest Service Representative for Dining Services. I have gotten to work with nurses and in a way, kind of shadow them, as I see them perform their job throughout the day. I also have previously served food in an elderly home, where I gained experience interacting with older people with beginning signs of dementia.”
What kind of nursing career do you plan to pursue? Is there a nursing specialty you are interested in?
“I plan to specialize in geriatrics, where I will attend grad school to become a nurse practitioner. I have worked with the elderly for many years and found solace in their company.”
Describe your experience in Salem State's School of Nursing. In what ways have your courses prepared you to be a nurse?
“All of my professors have been encouraging and they want to see you succeed. They also provide resources from the school such as tutoring and extra practice in Simulation labs. These professors have had several years of experience in the nursing profession. A majority of nursing professors are the best professors to have.”
What have you liked most about studying nursing at Salem State?
“I have enjoyed the community nursing students create as we work together to prepare to be nurses. Having a group of other nursing students makes studying easier and we are a support system for each other.”
What has it been like to study and/or work in the nursing field during the COVID-19 pandemic? What challenges have you had to overcome?
“The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the course of nursing as a profession, where people have realized how important nurses are. Patient care has increased significantly with the huge influx of COVID patients. Even though I have yet to participate in the clinical setting, I have learned through my job at a hospital from watching nurses be at their busiest as they diligently work towards caring best for their patients. Burnout is at an all-time high, but as a nursing student I have been learning how to work through the burnout.”
What do you love most about nursing in general?
“I love how connected we become with our patients. Nurses are always there to support their patients through whatever they are going through and they do so with utmost care.”
What advice would you give to future nursing students?
“Find another nursing student to be your permanent study buddy. It is difficult to go through nursing school alone, so a support system is essential.”
Salem State University School of Nursing