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My name is Kate Capwell and I’m originally from Apalachin, NY. I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a major in nursing in 2010. Currently I am working at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Prior to working at Tampa, I worked at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, NY. I am a Clinical Staff RN, scheduled to take my certification in critical care exam in October to become a CCRN. I currently hold certifications in Impella, (Ventricular/ Aortic Assist Devices), Intra-aortic Balloon Pump, and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). I am applying to graduate school currently, to return to school next August to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
The most exciting class I took at Plattsburgh was Med-Surg (I and II). I really enjoyed this class. Ideas and systems began to click and make more sense to me. I remember feeling like I was really getting into nursing and started to become really passionate about the profession. I loved the clinical portion of the class as well.
Throughout the program I loved the class size and the professor-student interaction. The program is well thought-out and put together. It is established in a fashion that is helpful and encouraging, yet challenging, allowing you to prepare for a career in nursing. The professors are always available and encourage one-on-one time. Each professor I had played a role in preparing me for exactly what I was going to experience outside of the classroom.
During my leadership and management clinical I was able to do research for a local hospital, dealing with the improvement and establishment of an electronic medical record system they were initiating. It was exciting to be right in the middle of a hospital’s improvement. I was able to see just how important technology can be inside a hospital, no matter how big or small that hospital may be.
The clinical experience at Plattsburgh was excellent. The amount of time allotted at each clinical site and unit is more than sufficient. Every professor and clinical instructor is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in that particular field or specialty. They are always there to help you but give you a great sense of independence at the same time; allowing you to gain personal confidence. Doing my rotation in Critical Care was ultimately what made me want to become an ICU nurse.
This program can be whatever you make of it. If you are passionate and diligent this will be the best experience of your life. The professors and the environment at SUNY Plattsburgh made me love what I was doing, I felt at home. The possibilities for success are endless. There are so many opportunities that are available both within the program and within the college as a whole. My advice would be to make the most of everyday and take advantage of all the program has to offer.
Lisa Sussdorff is from Port Kent and graduated from Plattsburgh State with a B.S. in Nursing. She works as a per diem nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Fletcher Allen Hospital, which is in Burlington, Vermont. She also spent an exciting year in southern California as a traveling nurse before returning home to pursue her Nurse Practitioner Master's from SUNY Stony Brook's School of Nursing.
This program is a great basis for getting the education and clinical experience you need to become a nurse practitioner. You need to have a B.S.N. to for that and this is definitely the place to start. The professors gave me good guidance and I still have contact with them. They encouraged my to branch out and try new areas.
Zoanne Schnell, one of my professors, has been a friend and supporter through college and beyond. She arranged my independent study, which seemed impossible at first, but I started working in my specialty right after graduating thanks to that individual study course. She also helped me with graduate school by writing recommendation letters for me and giving me advice about applying.
Although Plattsburgh State is in a rural area, I was never bored. There are tons going on and plenty of activities. I was on the track team, which was a lot of fun and you don't need to be a pro runner to join the team and have a good time.
The nursing program takes dedication and is probably the hardest on campus. Many students feel frustrated at some point in the program. I did too, but once I got into clinical practice, everything clicked. And the rewards as a nurse are great - I love being a nurse!
I very much enjoyed the holistic approach to nursing and patient care: mind, spirit and body. As an undergraduate at SUNY Plattsburgh my most exciting (and challenging) class was Anatomy & Physiology. Even after 26 years of clinical nursing I remain fascinated by the complexity, resiliency and efficiency of the human body. I also found the faculty very committed to our success as students, affording ample opportunities for additional help and support in a rigorous program.
Many of the skills used to develop a plan of care for a patient can be directly applied to the Project Management and System Implementation world. The informatics field also makes good use of all the communication and human dynamic skills I fine-tuned as an Emergency Nurse for 26 years. Technology is only as good as the people who use it. Every day I apply the skills of observation, active listening and understanding key motivators. The ED honed my ability to function as a team member – since it often required a well-practiced, highly functionally group effort to meet the demands of a busy department and provide the best outcomes for our patients. I also really enjoy working with people.
I view my long career in nursing, the thousands of patients I have cared for and the colleagues I’ve have learned from as both a privilege and a gift. Plattsburgh’s nursing program set the stage and laid the foundation for a lifetime of invaluable experiences and treasured relationships. If I had it all to do over… I wouldn’t change a thing.
If you would like more information about nursing at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:
Noreen Houck, Ph.Dc., M.S., RN, CNE Chairperson
Department of Nursing and Nutrition
Office: Hawkins Hall 209B
Phone: (518) 564-3124
Fax: (518) 564-3100
Department of Nursing and Nutrition
Plattsburgh, NY 12901