Healthcare is one of the few educational paths where students get to learn practical knowledge while developing hands-on clinical skills. It’s also one of the few professions that directly impacts the health and well-being of others, which can put a lot of pressure on student nurses.
At Maryville, we have a team of support coaches assigned to our online nursing degree students who provide advice about school-work-life balance, career paths, and how to deal with stress. Each coach is a seasoned pro who knows what it takes to be a nurse and wants to help you become a successful one.
Curious about what you can expect from Maryville University as one of our online nursing students? Laura Cargerman, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) support coach, and Danielle Saputa, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) support coach, gave us an inside look at their roles and how they address common concerns they hear from our students.
How coaches support our online nursing students
Support coaches guide student nurses through their online programs at Maryville by providing tips, insight, advice, and more. Here’s what Cargerman and Saputa had to say about their experience working directly with students:
What is the most important part of being a student support coach?
Cargerman: As an advisor to our DNP students, I wear many hats. My two biggest goals are to ensure students are pleased with the program as well as being a “cheerleader” to ensure they make it to graduation.
Saputa: The most important role of a coach is to be a listening ear. Truly listening to our students (what is explicitly said as well as what is communicated between the lines) allows the coach to guide student nurses through their program. Thorough listening clues us into the lifestyles, habits, goals, and needs of each student, which then allows us to offer the appropriate tools and resources to help them succeed in their program.
What are other ways coaches help online students succeed?
Cargerman: The type of support I provide depends on each student’s individual needs, questions, and concerns. From the onboarding process through graduation, some examples include connecting student nurses to resources, answering program-related questions, and regular check-ins to ensure success and mitigate any issues that may come up along the way.
Saputa: Nursing student coaches wear all kinds of hats when supporting students. These can range from cheerleading, liaisons, sounding boards, facilitators, time management planners, and beyond. Our programs usually last between one and three-plus years in length. Both academically and personally, the needs of the student evolve. In student advising, our job is to predict, prepare for, and evolve with the ever-changing needs of our students.
Tips for being successful in an online nursing program
Next, Cargerman and Saputa addressed the type of support student nurses need, along with some tips to help you be successful as a nursing student at Maryville.
What type of support do nursing students need?
Cargerman: DNP nursing students tend to balance many things, including work, family, and school. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to get to everything, so flexing their time management skills is a critical part of their success.
Saputa: Nurses work all sorts of different schedules, so they require a lot of flexibility or last-minute calls to truly be able to support them. With their varying and even sometimes unpredictable schedules, our team offers support Monday through Thursday, from as early as 7:30 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m. (and most Saturdays), with Fridays being standard business hours (we close by 5 p.m.).
How can students balance school with other responsibilities, such as work or family?
Cargerman: In my experience, student nurses who create a schedule and use a planner to carve out time to dedicate to school, work, family, etc., are the most successful. It’s helpful to establish a routine. Also, I highly encourage students to start their coursework early. Sometimes things can pop up unexpectedly, so this approach will help students stay on track, and having a cushion of time helps with (not) feeling overwhelmed. Lastly, fight the urge to multitask. Working on one thing at a time helps students become more productive and may give them back time in their week to enhance their personal life and create a happy balance, while juggling multiple priorities.
Saputa: The greatest thing students can do for themselves to achieve balance is to create a realistic time-management plan. Advisors can help with this if you don’t know where to start. Take into account all of the standard things, like work, family, hobbies, and any other key elements of your lifestyle. Then, get really specific about what the week will look like (even down to the hour). Certain parts might need to be shaved down during more challenging parts of the program, but it is essential students keep a good balance throughout the program for their own mental health and wellness.
Our student support coaches are inspired by your bravery and are committed to helping you succeed.
Cargerman and Saputa have been student support coaches long enough to know that there are certain things most nursing students experience. Learn more about common concerns they’ve noticed and recent societal challenges that impact them.
How often do nursing students seek support? What are their most common concerns?
Cargerman: DNP students tend to be high achievers with strong attention to detail. As such, it sometimes takes time to get into a rhythm, and this can be stressful. Students will reach out with a variety of questions, from things related to coursework expectations, scholarly projects and clinical questions as well as requesting help with time management. Each student is different, as are their needs, and I try to assist with anything I can while putting them in touch with the correct people.
Saputa: Student advisors meet with their nursing students a minimum of once a semester, although that number could certainly increase depending on student needs. Graduate school can be overwhelming for many, and we most often find ourselves coaching our nurses through proper time-management planning. Our graduate students often work full time (some with a second job), support/grow their families, volunteer, and still want to have their outlets/hobbies on top of schoolwork. That’s a lot to balance, so we try to find a happy medium that permits most or all of those things while still (allowing them to be) successful student nurses.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the type of support coaches provide?
Cargerman: The past few years have been incredibly challenging to nursing students as they try to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have taken on increased workloads, so their bandwidth to dedicate to school can fluctuate. Several have adjusted the scholarly project topics as a result to make them more relevant to our times. Working extra hours, staying at home with sick family members, etc., has taken its toll on students. Despite this, I am inspired on a daily basis by the students I help support because they are doing such amazing things during stressful times.
Saputa: Our nurses faced a high level of burnout over the last few years (understandably so). This meant that for a period of time, and even to this day, we had to increase our touch points to support our students, even if it was as simple as a pep talk. It’s normal to increase our communication plan to match the ebb and flow of the program, but the support they needed most often came in the form of a sympathetic ear and a few kind words, thanking them for all they do. We have so many bright students who will be amazing providers; they make it easy to thank them.
We’re here when you need us
When you join a nursing program at Maryville University, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with amazing support coaches like Laura and Danielle. Whether you enroll in an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program or tertiary degree program, such as a MSN or DNP, our team of coaches will be here to guide you through the program and lend encouragement whenever you need it.
To learn more, get in touch with an enrollment advisor:
- Call 888-266-0574
- Email email@example.com
- Text 888-266-0574
We look forward to talking with you soon to learn more about your goals and how we can help you achieve them.
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