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Student Spotlight: Lacy Smith
Sulphur Springs, Texas
B.S. in Nursing (RN to BSN)
Expected Graduation Date:
Delivery/charge registered nurse (RN) for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at OU Children’s Hospital and as needed staff NICU RN at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital
Cardiac Care and Therapeutic Hypothermia
Why did you choose the BSN program at Oklahoma State?
I’m a Cowboy for life! I moved to Stillwater at 18 to pursue my first bachelor’s degree, and I never left. I knew that continuing at OSU would allow me to use previously earned credits.
What do you consider the highlights of the BSN program?
The program is an accredited online program that has the backing of the best faculty and staff at OSU. The nursing faculty truly want to see students succeed and they make themselves readily available to help. This makes the whole experience. The program is also extremely flexible, which is necessary for someone like myself who has a husband, two jobs and no extra time.
How would you describe the online program experience?
Communication in an online program can make or break the experience. Our faculty communicate extremely well, especially considering it’s an online program. They offer a variety of ways to share information and foster relationships with our peers, which allows us to be successful. It’s easy to have a positive experience when you feel your efforts are not only noticed, but also celebrated.
You serve on the EHA Nurse Planning Committee as the student representative. What is your role?
The committee provides shared governance at the program level, which means we are looking at ways to make the program as successful as possible. My role as the student representative is to speak on behalf of all students so I can provide insight on what is or is not working from the student perspective. As a new program, there are occasional bumps in the road, which makes listening to the student voice even more important. I’ve had significant input on changes, and that has been really rewarding.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
I’ve always loved medicine. With nursing, I get to do it all. I never have the exact same day, and I love the challenge. I’m a caregiver at heart. I’ve always been most passionate about my patients and their families. I see them on their best and worst days, and I always want them to remember the care they received in a positive light, even in a bad situation.
What is it like working in the NICU?
There is no typical day in the NICU; every day is different. As a nightshift nurse, I run on little sleep and lots of caffeine! Babies make their own rules. They can’t tell us what hurts; we have to get to know them so we can pick up on subtle clues regarding what’s wrong. There is definitely an art to balancing the needs of the patient and the needs of the family. It is beautiful, emotional, exhausting, but oh so rewarding work. There is nothing like seeing a baby go home healthy.
You gave a poster presentation about safe car seat positioning to the Oklahoma Nurses Association. What was your poster about?
I’m a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) and part of my job as a NICU nurse is to make sure infants are properly positioned in their car seats. We have to ensure babies born prematurely can tolerate the angle of the car seat without impairing their airway. Premature infants don’t always have the muscle tone needed to do this. The purpose of my presentation was to inform nursing staff who are not certified CPSTs of proper procedure and share car seat statistics for the NICU at the Children’s Hospital.
What is your plan upon completing your degree?
I plan to apply to a master’s or doctoral program so I can become a pediatric nurse practitioner. My dream job is to be a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (CPNP-AC) as a cardiac intensivist, which means I’d care for infants and children following cardiac surgery.
Additional EHA Spotlight Stories here