Jack Shephard

What influenced your decision to go into nursing?

Throughout my life, I have always felt the need to serve others.  At first, I started in the field of biology, believing that I would want to work in a lab on a project that would serve the world and keep my interest.  After working in biology a bit, alone—I discovered that I needed to work with people and to feel that service up-close and personal.  I knew that nursing was a good field and I began working on my prerequisites. Then I met a friend who told me about her experiences in nursing and I was even more excited about my chosen path.  I have not regretted a day since. 

What kind of healthcare experience did you have prior to entering the program?  How did this experience help prepare you for nursing school?

Before entering the nursing program, I got my certified nursing assistant(NA-C) license and was able to learn all the basic techniques for caring for someone.  This experience helped me with the basic skills of nursing and to understand what kinds of things I would be dealing with as a nurse.  I was able to figure out if I was going to have a huge problem with bodily fluids before I committed to a two-year program. 

What excites you most about your program?

The amount of potential for growth is what excites me most about this program.  I can see myself growing every week and it’s inspiring, not just for my future career prospects, but for me as a person.  I’m taking more responsibility and expecting more from myself than I ever have before and I find this truly empowering. 

Describe your most memorable experience from clinicals.

My most memorable experience from clinicals was treating an elderly man whose whole family was there to support him.  He didn’t speak much English, but when he did, it was always a thank you.  His family translated for him and were the primary learners on his case and they had a lot of questions.  I felt really good in being able to explain everything to them and to have their support in interacting with the patient.  They were incredibly appreciative and supportive of my role as a student.  I enjoyed being able to go above and beyond for this family—giving the patient a foot massage for his dry, cracking feet.  It was a great honor to get to serve this family and to share in their support of this family member. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself as a student at UW?

The most important thing I’ve learned about myself as a student at UW is that I can do more than I ever expected myself to be able to do.  I don’t get everything right, but I try my best every time, and that fulfills that expectation of myself, and ends up delightfully surprising me with success. 

What kind of involvement do you have within the nursing community and outside the nursing community?

I am the Elsevier E-book Student Representative which allows me to address issues students have with their books, train them to use them to their fullest potential, and give feedback to the publisher, hopefully expanding that potential through student input.  I am a volunteer for the School of Nursing in foot-care clinics around the city, where we provide much needed foot care to the homeless and underserved.  I plan to take on more of an organizer role within this program next year.  Outside the nursing community I do fundraising for various charities such as Lambert House and the Lifelong AIDS Alliance. 

How is your UW education preparing to meet your professional goals?

Being here at UW is preparing me for graduate school by being a tough, but supportive program—asking me to know the things I should to be a god nurse.  Exposure to the various volunteer opportunities through UW is also helping me learn how programs outside the hospital work, which will help when working with the underserved.

What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to attend graduate school in the future?

I plan to go to graduate school, hopefully here at UW, to earn a DNP, and practice in service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.