Nursing forum from Katherine Tucker answers students’ questions


Joseph Vincenzi Reporter

She worked full time in a nail salon while attending school and raising a family.

Now, she works in management at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Katherine Tucker came to speak to nursing students about her incredible success story and any advice she has for upcoming nursing students at Southern.

“I want to know where you are and where your paths are going forward,” said Tucker to a group of students eager to share their concerns about their future nursing careers.

The nurse was invited to speak by nursing major Angelica Castro, a senior and the president of multicultural affairs, who said that the invitation was important for job-hunting students.

“We’re in the job hunting process,” said Castro. “A lot of our students are eager to hear from other nurses.”

Tucker said to students that it was normal to have mixed feelings about post-college ambitions.

“It’s a good thing to not necessarily believe that you know [what to do after college],” said Tucker.

She started her session by saying a bit about her background and rise to maintaining a position at Yale New Haven Hospital. She attended multiple schools including Southern and Quinnipiac and worked as a certified nursing assistant, a nurse who cares for people in their homes. At the same time, she was raising four children, and worked in her own nail salon during the evening.

“People said that I had no social life,” said Tucker. “Well, my social life was my kids, and that was enough for me.” Tucker said she finished her last years of school at Quinnipiac and started working at Yale New Haven right out of college. But it was not until years later that she considered working in management. “Could you do travel nursing right out of nursing school? You could. I would not,” said Tucker.

Tucker said she suggested “planting” one’s feet first in the nursing field, which she said can lead to a better understanding of how the business works. Hospitals, Tucker said, “are a business,” and they are set up to make money. Tucker also said students should be prepared for any type of situation they may have to work in and gave examples of some things new nurses might face.

“It might be an IV, it could be anything you learned in your nursing classes,” said Tucker. “You always want to have whatever you need before you need it.”

The biggest message from Tucker, however, was more than the specifics of the nursing industry. She said setting goals for oneself was the most important thing any student could do for themselves to chart a path for success in the future.

“Write down your goals,” said Tucker. “All the things you want to accomplish are going to lead you to your goals in life.”

Nursing major Josh Estores, a senior, said he was happy with the answer Tucker gave to his travel nursing question.

“It made me appreciate that there isn’t a solid set path,” said Estores.

Nursing major Christine Mesce, a junior, said she was curious about Tucker managing her life.

“I definitely feel encouraged,” said Mesce. She said she plans on going to graduate school and work at the same time. “If she can go to school and manage a family, then I can definitely go to school and work.”

“Choose your pathway,” Tucker said. “What is it that you want to be accomplishing?”

Photo Credit: Joseph Vincenzi

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