Focus On highlights faculty, staff, students and researchers at the UC Academic Health Center. To suggest someone to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth-year UC College of Nursing student and external holdover senator for UC’s Student Government office Jennifer St. John uses her own heart condition as motivation toward her dream career as a nurse practitioner.
What made you choose nursing as your field of study?
"I first chose to study nursing because the job opportunities to impact society are endless, ranging from personal home health care to working with public health. Nursing allows me to focus more on the community than on my own needs. I really enjoy learning both patient interactions through clinical as well as pathophysiological needs of patients through my nursing courses. I enjoy directly impacting someone’s health and overall life. I know that this impact will be the driving force to come into work the next day with a smile on my face and a great attitude when I am exhausted after working many hours a week!”
What is your dream job upon graduation in 2016?
"My dream job may not quite be a job … it’s simply more school! When I graduate, I want to be enrolled into a BSN to doctor of nursing practice—DNP—program to become a nurse practitioner. I want to specialize in cardiology, a specialty that is literally near and dear to my heart due to my history of heart complications. When I was in high school, I experienced undiagnosed heart conditions due to the inability to catch an ‘episode’ on a monitor. After four years of enduring heart episodes with a heart rate over 200 beats per minute, an episode was recorded, and my condition was diagnosed as supraventricular tachycardia. I was then given medicine, and eventually had surgery that stopped my episodes from occurring. I understand the impact and effects that heart complications can cause on a person. I use my experiences to drive my studies, my practice and eventually my career.”
You are very active on UC’s campus. Tell us about some of the organizations to which you belong and talk about how they help to shape your college experience.
"I am a proud Darwin T. Turner Scholar. The scholarship is named after the youngest student to receive a degree from the University of Cincinnati. The scholarship program fosters diversity, service and scholarship. This program has taught me the importance of community. I understand the importance of diversity in the personal and professional realms.
"I am also a dedicated member to the Undergraduate Student Government, starting out my membership as a First-Year Leadership Program intern to now being the external holdover senator where I oversee, engage and aid in the development and initiatives of Cabinet. Student Government has given me many leadership, organizational and interprofessional skills that I could not imagine gaining in another organization. My dedication to the University of Cincinnati shows as I serve as a voice of students, pass initiatives to improve student life and promote the Bearcat community.
"I am proud to say that I am a member of the University Honors Program. The program comprises the top 7 percent of the UC undergraduate students, offering students experiential learning opportunities. I have been able to take courses outside of nursing, such as Community Engagement and The Academic Achievement Gap, that have truly taught me real-world scenarios and problems. I have also learned the importance of reflection through the program, which guides my passions and dreams.
"My involvement does not stop with these three organizations. My college experience has also been greatly shaped personally, professionally and scholarly with my leadership and memberships in AMBITION (Advising Minorities By Inspiring and Transforming them Into Outstanding Nurses), my social sorority, Pi Beta Phi, IDENTITY (an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion), and as a College of Nursing iCoN Ambassador (promotes the college’s implementation of the use of the iPad in the classroom and clinical settings). These organizations have given me opportunities to plan campus-wide events, flourish communication between organizations and most importantly, mentor and impact future Bearcats!”
In 2013, you were crowned Miss Marion at the Marion, Ohio, Popcorn Festival. Do you have any other ‘claims to fame?’
"Miss Marion was definitely an awesome ‘claim to fame’! I was so honored to have the opportunity to represent my community as not only Miss Teen Marion 2010, but also as a young, professional woman as Miss Marion 2013. As a third-year at UC, I also had the honor of being on UC’s 2013 Homecoming Court. It was a blast to be a part of the parade and show my pride to the university.”
What’s important to you in your spare time?
"If you ask anyone, they would say that I am a social butterfly! I thrive on making new relationships and hearing others’ thoughts and experiences, but it is extremely important for me to have alone time. I will either spend this alone time reflecting on ideas or my day, reading some good material or simply going on a run. Being busy allows me to have a structured day, which is important to me, but I hold true alone time to the same level of importance. This solitude allows me to learn to be independent, to put a few things into perspective and to not wear myself out.”
Can you tell us something your peers here at UC might not know about you?
"I haven’t had the opportunity to showcase some of my talents at UC due to my love of academics and involvement, but in high school I was really involved and interested in voice recitals and competitions, musicals and chorus. Some of my peers got confused when they found out about my pursuits of Miss Marion, but the Miss Marion scholarship pageant competitions were my outlet to share some of my talents and interests of singing and dancing that I did not have the opportunities or time to pursue at UC. Maybe one day when I am a registered nurse, I will have the opportunity to sing a song for one of my patients!”