'My Road to Nursing' by International Nursing Student

Nursing Student Espen Nomel

by Espen Nomel, graduate of Diakanova University College (Oslo, Norway), International Nursing Student (Fall 2012)

I always knew I needed to work with people, and coming from a family with both a mother and sister being in the nursing profession, and a father who did volunteer work at a psychiatric hospital, the path to entering nursing college was, I guess, not too long. Even though I initially considered a career in hospitality, and worked as a hotel receptionist for some time before finally making the decision to become a nurse, the turning point came to me when my sister was diagnosed with cancer. Then I decided to change my direction in life, and I commenced on my journey to becoming a nurse.

When I was in high school, one of my teachers once said to me; “Espen, if you ever get a chance to study abroad, don’t let the opportunity pass on you”. And when I learned Diakonova University College had a nursing exchange program with Augustana College, where you had the opportunity to spend one semester studying nursing in the United States, I thought, well, it’s either now or never... And I hopped aboard an airplane bound for Sioux Falls.

Attending Augustana College turned out to be a life changing experience for me. As a student at Augie, you are challenged to work hard and sometimes even step out of your comfort zone, especially when you’re in the clinical settings. I believe that these two factors combined, is key to personal  development and higher achievement. The educational experience at Augustana maintains a high academic level, with emphasis on both clinical nursing skills, as well as classes where you engage in active discussions and exchanges. Community Health is also a very good course if you want to gain insight into how the American healthcare system works. Still, one of the most important nursing skills I obtained at Augie, was the clinical patient assessment. The so-called head-to-toe-assessment is not commonly taught in the Norwegian undergraduate nursing curriculum. However, after learning and practicing the physical assessment skill during the time I spent at Augie, I now believe I can employ a much more
comprehensive and systematic tool to observe the patient, and detect early warning signs of deterioration.

Espen and Christina Nomel with other nursing students from NorwayAnother great experience at Augie was the internship that I completed at Avera McKennan’s, 1 east unit. I was very fortunate to have an experienced preceptor who helped me develop the hands-on nursing skills, and she was also an invaluable field instructor in the physical assessment technique.

There’s many things to be said, but the essence is that spending a semester at Augustana College, truly prepares you for the challenging tasks you meet as a nurse. No matter where in the world you decide to work, the solid framework of academic and clinical knowledge you are provided with by Augie, most surely will help you become that person who can make a difference in someone’s life.