Where are they now? Kristen Swain ‘10

From which program did you graduate and when?

I graduated with the class of 2010 from the traditional undergraduate BSN program.

What drew you to Simmons nursing program?

After attending a number of welcoming events at Simmons for prospective students, including the president's brunch, I came to understand the value of a Simmons education. I was drawn to the small clinical groups, the tight-knit community, and the very apparent dedication of all of the staff and faculty in the program.

What's the most valuable lesson Simmons taught you?

The message that resonates with me the most today is that I have a voice. I’m not just the nurse, but a member of an interdisciplinary team in a very complex world of patient care. My education at Simmons helped me to develop my confidence, my voice and my dedication to stand up for patient safety and patient rights.

Where do you currently work and what's your favorite part of your job?

I’ve worked in critical care since graduating, and for the past 4 years I’ve been working as a travel nurse. I’m constantly seeking new challenges and I embrace an environment of change, so travel nursing has been the perfect fit for me. My travels have taken me back to Boston and Brigham and Women's Hospital, which has always been a dream for me!

Tell me about some of your international volunteer work.

I’ve had the opportunity to work internationally as a nurse with various non-profit organizations. I’m so passionate about my work with Operation Smile, an organization that performs maxillo-facial surgeries in underserved areas and have traveled to Chiapas, Mexico; An Giang, Vietnam; Lima, Peru; Esteli, Nicaragua and most recently Isabela, Philippines where we completed over 130 surgeries in 5 days!

How did Simmons prepare you for your nursing career?

Simmons prepared me in every way possible for my career in nursing; ways that I am not even aware of yet! The program starts with the fundamentals and the development of strong assessment skills. This allowed me to pursue positions in critical care and feel very confident caring for sick, unstable, complex patients. The program also fosters growth as a leader, innovator and critical thinker, which has allowed me to continually challenge myself and seek new opportunities for personal growth and ways to positively impact the healthcare delivery system.

What are you most proud of in your nursing career so far?

I’m really proud of how much I have accomplished only 6 years into my career. When I was hired for my first job as a nurse, I could never have expected that I could do so much with my degree. As a travel nurse, I've been exposed to every form of healthcare institution from small community hospital to large teaching facility, inpatient unit to ambulatory clinic, from the east coast to the west coast and internationally!

What advice would you give to current Simmons nursing students?

  • Network and keep in contact with connections.
  • Develop yourself as a professional and keep a portfolio of your work and accomplishments.
  • Don't settle for the response "this is how we've always done it." Trust your judgement and embrace change. 
  • Try not to get caught up in the tasks of nursing and remember to provide care that is holistic and recognizes the patient as a person. 
  • Travel!!! The world is a fun place :o)
  • Always seek new challenges and step outside your comfort zone- this will only help you to grow and excel in your career.

Photo taken during one of Kristen's medical missions in Lima, Peru in 2014.
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