Jennie Clark '16: Why I'm Becoming a Nurse

May 04, 2015

Jennie Clark

We caught up with Jennie who spent 8 years in the military before attending Simmons.

What are you studying at Simmons?

I'm a Dix Scholar -- majoring in nursing and minoring in psychology -- and I'm part of the Honors Program.

What made you want to study nursing?

Before coming back to school, I served in the military for 8 years. I was a Special Operations Civil Affairs Officer and led a four-member team through rigorous shoot, move, communicate and medicate training in preparation for deployments to austere environments. During deployments, our mission was to build partner nation governance and capacity through liaison between supported military forces and partner nation leaders including integration into local villages to meet with the populace. Because of the circumstances of our deployments and the necessity for self-sufficiency, medical training was crucial to our safety and success as a team. I led and supervised my team through Tactical Combat Casualty Care. During this advanced combat life-saving course my team and I displayed proficiency in trauma medical tasks.

The year before I started nursing school at Simmons, I deployed to Colombia, South America with my team. I advised various VIPs and U.S. Government inter-agencies to synchronize civil-military activities and programs that directly affected Colombian citizens. Many of the programs included basic level one medical care where we partnered with Colombian healthcare professionals. I have always been interested in the medical field, but the altruistic nature of my position in Civil Affairs and the trauma medical training throughout my career solidified my decision to become a nurse.

What's your favorite part of your program?

The clinical experience at Boston hospitals. This semester, I started my clinical rotations at Tufts Medical Center. During each clinical day, I take what I have learned in my nursing classes and integrate it into practice as I care for my patient.

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

I have enjoyed all of my classes, especially nursing. But, my favorite is my Learning by Giving -- Honors 300 -- course because of my drive to serve others. The service-learning component of the course provides a unique opportunity not often available in a traditional college lecture or seminar. During the semester, students are grouped into small teams and partnered with a local nonprofit organization as service learners and grant writers.

My team is partnered with Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts. Level Ground is a local nonprofit organization that serves the at-risk youth of the Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston where they leverage the sport of Mixed Martial Arts to empower the youth to “fight for and seize their dreams” through values of discipline, respect and resilience. As part of our service learning, my team participates in the Mixed Martial Arts lessons with the youth at Level Ground. It's rewarding to get “on the mat” with the youth and witness first-hand how Level Ground reaches the youth.

What's your favorite part of the Honors Program?

The Honors Program offers me the opportunity to challenge myself in interdisciplinary studies outside of my major. Due to the integrated community of the Honors Program, I was able to collaborate with students in different disciplines, which provided additional perspectives to my education and allowed me to acquire a larger base of mentors through the Honors Program professors. 

What's your dream job?

Last summer, I had an incredible opportunity to volunteer internationally. I volunteered in Villa El Salvador, Peru at Los Martincitos, an elderly day care center that provided health and quality-of-life care to elders in the community, most of whom were victims of the Shining Path, a communist insurgent organization. This experience, coupled with my military deployments, inspired me to work internationally in the future. My dream job is to be a certified registered nurse anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.

What's your Simmons moment?

Getting accepted to the Honors Program. It meant that I would be able to take advantage of the Honors courses -- especially my Honors 300 course -- which involves the service-learning experience at Level Ground.

What made you choose to come to school at Simmons?

Simmons is one of the few schools that took a personal interest in understanding my unique situation as a previous degree holder interested in nursing. The accelerated track for Dix Scholar nursing students, the reputation of Simmons’ nurses and the opportunities available through clinical experiences at Boston hospitals attracted me to apply to Simmons. 

Since attending, my confidence in this decision has grown and I have never regretted my decision to join the Simmons community.