Samantha Jo Dailey, Nursing Student

Samantha

Samantha Dailey was in the living room with her Mom. "We'd been talking about my next step and she was encouraging me to consider nursing. So I just went to see if I'd like it." She went to San Joaquin Delta community college in Stockton, just north of her home in the small city of Manteca, California. "I took anatomy, she said, "and microbiology and physiology—and I loved the science!"

She got her Certified Nursing Assistant certificate, worked in a home care facility and in a prison hospital. Intent on advancing her career, in 2015 Samantha came to the Rocklin campus to get into the nursing school. She'd heard of the rating by an association of RNs. "I knew it was sixth best in the State," she said. Sierra was also commended for its teaching of advanced methods in patient care.

For entry into the Sierra RN program, as with most California nursing schools, applicants are assessed by their performance in a wide range of the courses they've taken--including science, English, nutrition, psychology and mental health. When it comes to training, a student learns to function under stress, to deal with emergencies, control infection, cope with angry or depressed patients and so on.

As part of her studies outside the classroom, Samantha gets up at five in the morning for two long days each week, and is on the floor by 6 a.m. at Sutter Hospital in Roseville. She works until five at night, moving through her day quickly, consulting at the Nurses Station, tracking down orders or prescriptions, and walking a patient for exercise or visiting with them in their rooms. "They might ask 'do you remember what I have?' or 'What does this pill do?' We're the ones who educate the patient."

Now in her final semester at Sierra, Samantha says her favorite part of her career so far is "putting a smile on a patient’s face, being present, talking with them about their lives."

When she is awarded her Associate's degree in May, Samantha will be a Registered Nurse. "It's a big job, she said, "the patient's in your hands." Then she added, "Because of this program, I'll be confident in myself as a nurse at graduation. I can't wait, none of us can. We've worked so hard for this."