B.S. '12 - Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Registered Nurse -- Pediatric ER Lutheran Hospital
Minute with a Mastodon features our diverse and unique alumni through a series of questions. Take a minute, or a few, and get to know IPFW alumna Rachel Schultz!
Q: How has your degree been beneficial to you and your career?
A:Nursing is one of my passions. During my world travels, it did not take long for the people I met to start calling me "Nurse Rachel" and "Muganga", which means health care provider in an African language. Nursing became more than just a career but a part of who I was and what I could give.
Q: How did you become interested in your field?
A: My interests started young and evolved over time. As a little girl, I watched nurses take care of my older sister who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I thought they were so pretty. In sixth grade, I discovered a love for science as we studied basic life support and human anatomy. By eighth grade, I could not imagine myself doing anything else but nursing as I continued to see the impact on my family the nurses we encountered had made.
Q: What is the best career advice you were given?
A: After a few sleepless nights going over everything I felt I should have done differently during work, I cling to the advice I received from a seasoned nurse--"Be confident. Trust your instincts. Don't double chart. And pack your lunch. The cafeteria, well, aint nobody got time for that."
Q: Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you? A: Two nursing professors come to mind right away-- Susan Wade and Dr. Kaskel. These two women showed me how B.A. nurses could be. They showed passion and confidence in us without letting us take the easy way out. They challenged, encouraged, inspired, and always had an open door. I strive to be a professor like that one day.
Q: What course(s) have you found to be most valuable in your professional life?
A: My pediatric course with Professor Wade inspired me to go into pediatrics. For years I thought I would want nothing to do with that specialty, and now I am a pediatric emergency nurse and loving it. I gained the most confidence and independence during my last clinical--Acute Care. It was during that semester that I realized I was ready and able to start practicing on my own.
Q: What would be your advice to someone who is considering IPFW (either as a new student or a returning adult)?
A: Know your goals, and make every decision based on achieving your goals. More importantly, know who you are and who you want to be, and let that define your actions. It might not always feel like the "right time" to go to school or take a certain class--make college a priority if that is where your dreams are taking you.
Q: What advice would you give to current IPFW students?
A: Live with purpose and intentionality. College is a short season of life, one that is fairly safe with its schedules, social atmosphere, and built-in expectations. Take advantage of all the resources at hand and network, network, network. That dream job is not going to just fall in your lap, and post-graduation, one of the best places to get a job is through people you met in college.
Q: Do you have a favorite and/or funny story about your time at IPFW?
A: First day, first semester of college I walked into the wrong classroom. I didn't realize it until I had sat down. Not wanting to look like an obvious freshman, I followed the line up to the front to get a syllabus, then grabbed my bag and tried to make a discreet exit. Two years later, I had the pleasure of witnessing a guy do the same thing in one of my large nursing lectures. The memory made me smile.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments, both personally and professionally?
A: I believe my greatest accomplishment is yet to come, but as of now, I would say that anyone who graduates from college has something to be proud of. I was able to run Division I sports while still graduating at the top of my class, an accomplishment I didn't necessarily set as a goal but one that resulted from me refusing to settle for mediocrity. Personally, though, the World Race will undoubtedly be one of the most unique years of my life. I traveled to eleven countries in eleven months and just loved on people. My days were filled with whatever the people I met needed me to do--anything from rescuing prostitutes from the Red Light Districts of Thailand to running a Guatemalan medical clinic to fertilizing Kenyan corn fields with a spoon. That year changed my perspective on many things.
Q: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
A: So much can happen in a year, let alone ten, so here's the plan as of now, with room left for life to get creative--I want to have finished my masters and be an instructor of nursing students while still getting my adrenaline-fill by working in the ER. Other goals on the bucket list--write something inspiring, visit Machu Picchu, fly first class while drinking an adult beverage. Persuade someone to let me row a gondola taxi. Definitely more travels in the works.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: Remember my joy at the little things, my determination through the hard things, my perspective during the sad things, and my faith in things not yet seen. If it is not good, God is not done.