Published: November 20, 2015
Imagine that you are walking to class on a cold and snowy day in December. The snow is falling ever so slowly that you are questioning if it is really snowing at all. While you are thinking about this, you slip on a small patch of ice, put your hands out in front of you and brace for the impact. You hit the ground hard, hurting your hand. You come to the conclusion that the fall caused you to fracture a bone or two in your wrist, and you must now go to the hospital to see a doctor.
When they make this decision, most people expect to see a doctor right away. In reality, the first person they see when they get to the hospital is someone who is well educated and completely dedicated to them. This person is the everyday nurse.
Nurses are the backbone of every hospital around the globe. They are the ones responsible for keeping track of a patient’s condition and performing and completing medical procedures, and they also are the ones who actually give the patients their medicine.
Dona Carpenter, Ed.D., is a chairperson for the nursing department at The University. She has over 20 years of experience in teaching and in clinical settings. At the moment, she teaches graduate research, the introductory course to first year nursing students, and nursing ethics on the graduate level. She has worked at different hospitals and in different departments to find what she really wanted to do. She graduated from Villanova with a master’s degree in nursing. Carpenter has been teaching at The University for 30 years.
“From the time I was very little I always wanted to be a nurse or a teacher, but what really made me become a nurse was the fact that my great aunt was a nurse, and I wanted to be like her. But mostly I wanted to help people,” Carpenter said.
Here at The University, nursing majors are some of the most dedicated students. They are dealing with some of the same classes that are needed for majors that require graduate school and more. In 2014, there were 75 graduates from the Panuska College of Professional Studies (PCPS.) This was the largest major in PCPS. Out of those 75 graduates, 64 students responded to the survey sent out by career services. The 64 students responded by saying that only three of them went on to a graduate level program, while the other 59 were working full-time six months after graduation. In other words, 97 percent of students were successfully doing what they wanted after graduation. This number is not surprising based on facts supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“I think a lot of why students are so successful in the nursing program here at The University are because they are a specific type of student. They still come in here with the old fashioned values that the older generation had when going to school, like how they want to help people. Our program also does a very good job at preparing our students to go out into the real world and take on a nursing position,” Carpenter said.
The BLS released data in January 2015 which said, “more than half a million positions for registered nurses are projected to open up between 2012 and 2022.” Nurses are in high demand for various reasons. Carpenter believes that the reason nurses are always going to be in demand is because of how valuable they are for a medical team.
“Nurses will always be in high demand, because they are the people that are at the bedside seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In a 24 hour period, you may only see your doctor for five minutes. The rest of the time it’s the nurse that you’re going to see,” Carpenter said.
The second biggest major at The University within PCPS is counseling and human services. Out of the 61 students that graduated in 2014, 49 students responded to the survey sent out by career services. From those 49 students, 47 have either found a full time job or have continued their education. This is a success rate of 96 percent, which is outstanding.
Paul Datti, Ph.D., is the acting department chair for the fall of 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pennsylvania State University and his master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from The University. He went back to earn his doctorate of counselor education at the Pennsylvania State University. Datti has been the program director since 2009. He spoke very highly of his program and how excited he is for the upcoming years.
“Our unemployment rate for graduates has been zero percent, except for one year in which it was five percent, which is still great when compared to the national average.” Datti said.
Students at The University come into counseling for many different reasons. Some want to help people live a better life. Others want to be the person that someone needs to talk to.”
Datti believes that students that come to The University end up with the counseling and human services major because it fits with the Jesuit tradition, service, and wanting to help people. A lot of people come to The University because of its Jesuit traditions, like Cura Personalis, and they understand the social justice part. Some would say that the counseling and human services major lines up perfectly with these standards.
“If people are going to come to Scranton in the first place, and then they find a major that really matches up nicely with The University mission and Jesuit ideals, then it just makes the major that much more attractive. Also a lot of people are helpers; they want to help people at some level. Most people just don’t know what to do with that. They may think, psychology is the way to go, and it is a wonderful major that I have a major in myself. For some people, they take a counseling class, and they gravitate towards the major right off the bat,” Datti said.
According to the BLS, the counseling and human services field will be seeing a rise in job opportunities from 2015 until 2022. There is expected to be a 22 percent increase in job outlook which is much faster than usual. This can be associated with the great need there is in the country for human and social services. There is also a large responsibility in the field.
“Cura personalis is the most important part of the job. If our students can care for the whole person, and they think about all the important things, then hopefully everything else will fall in line,” Datti said.
Whatever the case, it is clear to not only see why these two majors are popular at The University, but also why they are also so successful. Both Carpenter and Datti are the most passionate professionals. Their passion for the subjects they teach really helps to develop a student into a professional nurse or counselor that really wants to make a difference. The common theme for the two majors is also understandable, as they both attract a certain type of student who wants to be the helping hand and is willing to do whatever it takes to be there for those who need them.
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