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Student Spotlight

Quarter 1 2013 Stellar Student - Rachael Tse: Honoring Holistic Nursing

Marquette University nursing student, Rachael Tse represents our changing U.S. population demographics.  Rachael is a first generation born Chinese American. Her parents arrived in the United States from Hong Kong many years ago.  She has her own unique story of pursuing a nursing career. 

Imaging growing up with your father, a physician and anesthesiologist and yet all the time wanting to be a nurse. How did this happen?  For Rachael Tse it wasbecause as a hospital volunteer, she had witnessed how nurses cared for patients and how “holistic” they were in their approach. “I remember how reassuring they were to patients, and it seemed like they had all the time in the world, or at least made them feel like they were the only patient being cared for, by that nurse.”

Rachael pursued her interest in nursing by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.  Nursing school followed and opened her mind to the world of health, not just illness. “I recall being amazed at the impact that smoking has on the body. You hear so much about lung cancer, but I was surprised how it constricts blood vessels, deprives cells of oxygen, just so many bad effects.”  

Obtaining her BSN has not been easy. “Adjusting from high school has been hard. I needed to increase my studying skills, learn to stop procrastinating and not give in to fun distractions. Living away from the everyday luxuries of home was another big change for me.”  Marquette University College of Nursing’s Project B.E.Y.O.N.D. (Building Ethnic Youth Opportunities for Nursing Diversity) was a great help in transitioning from high school to college. “Through this program, I’ve learned from several inspirational speakers and have had a mentor guide me through these past few years in nursing. Additionally, there is an open door policy where students could walk in to just say ‘hi,’ or to talk about the most concerning struggles that were on our minds.”

Rachel’s clinical experiences have also opened her eyes to the hard work of bedside nursing.  “I have learned that although it is important to gain hands-on skills, patients really respond to how you make them feel, not just how well you do a skill. I have noticed the power of staying positive every day in caring for sick people.  I also noticed how important it is to stay positive about nursing – yes, the work is hard, long days, but the positive nurses are the ones giving and receiving rewards from nursing care.”

Rachael does not view herself as different from any other college students. She has been surrounded by her family, many of whom have college degrees. Yet, she has a keen awareness of her cultural roots.  She has great insight into her own characteristics stemming from her Chinese family and background. She is a hard worker, does not value complaining, does not give up, and is very holistic in her approach to healthcare. “Although I do not advise others about using herbs and natural products, I know these are still strongly valued in Chinese health. It is part of being ‘holistic.’   I am thought of as a good listener and compassionate. I think these traits really help make a difference in reaching out to patients. I have seen how patients are quick to know a ‘caring nurse,’ versus a nurse or anyone just doing their job."

Rachael is currently working as a Nursing Intern in critical care at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, an area which she enjoys and thrives.  Her nursing goals include finding a job in critical care and someday returning to graduate school. Her early thoughts include investigating the role of the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, “I think my compassion and listening skills will help me work with patients prior to surgery, a time when they are so very vulnerable.”

Ultimately, Rachael is hoping a nursing career will help her give back to others, her family, friends and community. “It would be great if all high school students graduated knowing how to do CPR! It would be a great change that I would like to see.”

That’s a great idea, Rachael….our world is becoming a better place because of your dreams!


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