Spartans of UD: Anja Arend
Nov 8, 2017 | University Relations staff
Spartans of UD is a new feature that highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people who live, work, and study on campus. Anja Arend, a senior nursing student, is president of the UD Student Nursing Association and vice president of the Iowa Association of Nursing Students. She recently attended the 35th annual National Student Nurses’ Association MidYear Career Planning Conference in San Diego, California.
Senior Nursing Student
1. When and why did you decide you wanted to be a nurse?
“My passion for nursing, I think, has been in me since I was very young. I have always wanted to take care of others and help them however I can. The moment I really decided to establish myself in the field of nursing was when I watched my grandma get taken care of by certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Their work and their care for her inspired me to become like them. I achieved my CNA at the age of 15 and began working at a nursing home at the age of 16. Working at the nursing home only strengthened my passion and desire to become a nurse. Watching the nurses and the work they did help me see that it was a role I wanted to achieve in my own life. The difference and lasting impact nurses can leave is why this profession calls me.”
2. As part of the nursing program at UD, students obtain clinical experiences in mental health, med surge, and community health. What have you gained through some of those clinical rotations?
“Throughout my clinical rotations at University of Dubuque I have gained a diverse scope and understanding of the different areas nurses can go with their career. Our clinical rotations have allowed us to see care delivered in many different settings and to patients with unique needs. The consistency throughout the clinical rotations is that in every setting with every patient we got to give or observe patient care. Patient care is the foundation of the field and why most of us were led to this profession. I have also really started to gain confidence in myself not only as a student but also as a student nurse on the floor in my rotations. I am growing into the nurse I wish to be and each one of these rotations has shown me how I want to define myself as a nurse.”
3. On Nov. 2-5, you attended the 35th annual National Student Nurses’ Association MidYear Career Planning Conference in San Diego, California. The conference explored specialty nursing areas and offered career development workshops for nursing students. What did you take away from the conference?
“During my time at MidYear Career Planning Conference, I was able to meet many student nurses with the same passion as me. I was in a room with people from all different walks of life who all wanted to make changes and be a part of something bigger than themselves. I made great connections at this conference and was able to meet with potential employers and see future education pathways. Besides meeting with these professionals, I was also able to hear about what other states were doing to better their boards and develop their annual conventions. I came into MidYear apprehensive of the unknown and I left feeling empowered for the future of nursing and where our generation of nurses will lead it.”
4. What do you hope to achieve as president of the UD Student Nursing Association and vice president of the Iowa Association of Nursing Students?
“As president of the UD Student Nursing Association, I hope to leave the organization better and stronger than the organization I led. I want to leave a lasting impact and help our organization become a role model to other clubs/organizations on campus. I have been pushing for us to be more involved in the campus life at University of Dubuque, and I have been looking into ways to get our name out in the community with events promoting health and wellness for everyone. From what I have learned so far as vice president of the Iowa Association of Nursing Students, I hope to bring those concepts to Dubuque’s board to better us.
“As the vice president of the Iowa Association of Nursing Students, I have many goals. My role is to plan the next state convention, which is a lot of pressure. I am letting the pressure and excitement guide me to make this the best state convention yet. Last year we had 370 students from all over the state of Iowa; this year I hope to see 500 students in the crowd. I also want to have at least 30 exhibitors that can guide student nurses with NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) information, career opportunities, and furthering education pathways. My last goal for next year’s convention is to move people to act and want better for themselves and their patients. I plan to achieve this with the keynote speaker I am very happy to announce: Chris Norton, from Altoona, Iowa. Chris’s story is motivating and gives us the opportunity to hear from the patient side of the field we are all going into and to learn from his experiences.
“My major goal for both of these positions is to inspire and leave other student nurses driven to help our field continue to develop and grow in ways that help us as the nurses and give our patients better outcomes.”
5. What advice would you have for future nursing students?
“My advice to all future nursing students is to never give up. Nursing school is very difficult and challenges you in all aspects of life. It will push you to new heights, but remember the final goal and you will get there. My second piece of advice is to be involved. Being involved helps you make connections, meet new people, and step outside of your comfort zone. Don’t ever let the fear of failure keep you from achieving your dreams.
“Also, in all negative situations, there is a positive. Find the positives and don’t dwell on the negatives for they do not define you as a person. The negatives will only push you to achieve at a higher standard and make it more satisfying in the end.”