Erin Belanger, Wittenberg class of 2018 from Cincinnati, Ohio, fell in love with Wittenberg the moment she stepped foot on campus, but was afraid she was going to have to transfer to another school upon switching majors as a freshman.
“I chose to attend Wittenberg because when I was touring universities, there was no other place that felt ‘right’ except Wittenberg,” Belanger said. “I knew it was where I was supposed to be from the moment I stepped on campus. But when I decided to change my major from psychology to nursing at the end of my freshman year, I initially thought I was going to have to transfer. I was absolutely heartbroken thinking I was going to have to leave Wittenberg when someone in admission informed me that they thought Wittenberg was developing a nursing program for the following year. I wanted more information right away. And while it was a little nerve-wracking jumping into a brand-new nursing program, I knew I wanted to stay at Wittenberg -- no matter what.”
One of the first students to complete the BSN nursing program at Wittenberg, Belanger, who also worked as a sports medicine assistant in the athletics training room (ATR), is currently a nurse in the Special Care Nursery at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. She explained that Wittenberg’s nursing program provided her with a great foundation to build upon with its well-rounded curriculum. The fact that Wittenberg’s program has a liberal arts foundation added an even greater dimension to the program’s attraction.
“Nursing school and the real nursing world are so different, but a great nursing school such as Wittenberg, provides a solid foundation in every aspect of nursing, which is strong enough to support everything that will build upon it after graduation,” she said. “I left Wittenberg feeling like I truly knew what to expect after graduation when I got my first nursing job.
“While in college, I always felt like I was seeing the nursing field through a million different perspectives. It wasn't basic or black and white; I met so many different types of people and got so many different views of what the nursing profession could be. Wittenberg has fantastic classes and instructors that work really hard to provide students with the most well-rounded education possible.”
Belanger has taken those aspects to another level in her position in the Special Care Nursery, where she performs full assessments on newborn babies.
“We go to every delivery in the hospital and are the ‘baby nurse,’ drying and stimulating each baby after birth, doing full newborn assessments, giving medications, and taking measurements including weight and length,” she said. “We also take care of any premature babies 31 weeks and above or any full-term babies that require assistance for a variety of issues.”
Extracurriculars such as working as the vice president of public relations for her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, honed Belanger’s interpersonal relations and taught her how to work with large groups of people to achieve a unifying goal. She also feels that working in the athletic training room added to her nursing skills and work ethic as she had to constantly adapt to new situations.
“The people who had the most influence on me at Wittenberg were my bosses in the ATR, Molly Hopkins, Greg Schneider, Ellen Crosbie, and Nathan Ervin,” Belanger said. “They were truly some of my biggest supporters through nursing school. They were constantly giving me advice and any opportunity to apply any skills I had learned, and they were always there to support me during the stressful times that come hand-in-hand with nursing school. I will always be thankful for the constant support and patience they all showed me, and I hope I can provide that same feeling to other nursing students one day.”
For more information on all nursing-related opportunities, please visit the Wittenberg Nursing website.