“If I can do nursing school, then I think everybody can do it,” said nursing student Sara Belmir to a group of about 40 during the Health Professions Club meeting Nov. 7.
The HPC strives to help health students get into professional schools, said Steve Kash, professor and sponsor of the club.
Belmir and nursing student Sanaa Qarqour spoke about their journey in the OCCC nursing program.
“Nursing school will take your brain to thinking in a different level,” Belmir said.
She said being in the program takes a large amount of perseverance and sacrifice. “It’s doable, it just [depends on] dedication, hard work, and how bad you want this,” she said.
Kash said student success is the focus of the activities for the club. “Our director, right now at least, is (dedicated) to bringing successful former students back to talk to our students,” he said.
Students currently in professional school have been invited back to speak to students.
“I think it’s real important for our pre-nursing and pre-professional students to actually meet with former OCCC students rather than just a professor or representative of another school,” Kash said.
“I think that’s a very powerful statement— to be able to talk in a room with somebody who is in a place where you want to be in another year or so,” he said.
Nursing major and HPC member Tony Feehen joined the club because he thought it would help him with his career.
“I felt it would correlate with my nursing program— my ambitions to become a nurse,” Feehen said. “It’s always nice to get a different perspective from other people going through it.”
Feehen recommends the club to anyone in a health-related field.
Kash said students don’t have to major in a health profession to join the HPC or attend their meetings and seminars. “Whether you’re a science person or not, whether you’re an official member of the club or not… it’s basically an open-door policy,” Kash said.
Nursing major Srilan Maranan said he would like to join the club.
“[The meeting] was very informative,” Maranan said.
The willingness of former students to speak at club meetings positively represents OCCC, Kash said.
“I think this is a very tightly-knit campus, and you only discover that when you find no lack of folks who want to come back and talk to the students on campus and they are not compensated for it in any way,” Kash said. “They are just doing it out of the kindness of their heart and the fact that they feel strongly about their alma mater.”