“I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse, just like my aunt. She graduated from this very school in 1971 with her Associate’s Degree in Nursing. It took me a while to get here, but I have almost made it,” says Elizabeth Kelly, a Clayton State University senior with a Nursing major and a major passion for nursing.
Kelly joined the Student Nursing Association (SNA) while she was still in her core classes. Since then, she formed a dream to one day be a part of the SNA board to better use her skills for helping the community’s people in need. This dream was tackled and brought to reality in her second semester of nursing school when Kelly ran for an SNA board position. After campaigning, SNA held an election and her position was earned. She took over from her predecessor in January 2014.
Kelly gathered more knowledge than just medical knowledge during her time at Clayton State. From her mathematics professor, Alvin Todd, Kelly learned how to turn the enemy, in this case algebra, into a friend. Through easy explanations that made math click for Kelly like never before, she was able to gain more understanding of the subject and with growth came increased self-confidence. On her TEAS exam, an exam taken prior to entering the nursing program, Kelly made her highest score in math. Because of this feat, Kelly insists that Todd was “truly a hero.”
Grace Nteff, assistant professor of Nursing, helped Kelly in maneuvering through to Labor and Delivery, which is Kelly’s primary interest. Always met with patience and care, Kelly continues to seek Nteff’s advice.
Dina Swearngin, clinical instructor of Nursing, and a Clayton State nursing graduate, taught the power of teaching. The essence of the lesson was to urge students to go on teaching their patients on a patients’ level; that if a patient does not understand what is being said then it will not be followed. Communication is the key. Nursing major Kelly can one day see herself teaching nursing students because of the way that Swearngin taught, with great clarity and with visuals.
Kelly now works with SNA to do a number of health awareness events for the community. So far they have done numerous blood pressure events, nutrition fairs, breast cancer education, and have also provided first aid for the Georgia Special Olympics. Kelly hopes to create some on and off campus diabetic workshops that will continue after her graduation. She also is looking to create a support group for people who have had bariatric or weight loss surgery; having gone through RNY gastric bypass herself, she is highly positive about the results.
Kelly dreams of one day returning to school to earn her master’s degree, to help her accomplish even bigger dreams.