KINGSTON, R.I. – May 07, 2012 – Reudi Correia said she has always had “the caring gene,” and she proved it by taking care of her family in good times and bad while she was growing up. As a nursing student at the University of Rhode Island, she continued in that role as an ambassador for prospective students and their parents, welcoming them to the University and sharing her experiences so they would feel comfortable in the next stage of their lives.
As the North Providence resident prepares to graduate on May 20, she looks forward to caring for people and helping them avoid illnesses for many years to come.
“In high school I volunteered at Rhode Island Hospital, and I really liked watching the nurses,” said Correia. “They were so knowledgeable and respected, and I could ask them anything. I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”
At URI, Correia quickly found allies among the nursing faculty.
“I became friends with many of them,” she said. “I built bonds with them, and they see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. They see us as flowers blooming.”
Correia’s enthusiasm for the URI College of Nursing resulted in her taking a leadership position with the College’s Nursing Ambassadors program.
“We represent the college to prospective students, like we’re mothers that welcome our new students and make them feel like they belong,” she said. “It’s as important that we welcome their parents, too, because their child is about to leave them and we have to allow them to realize that their child is in a great place.”
Perhaps Correia’s biggest challenge at URI was in deciding what type of nursing career to pursue. During her clinical rotations, she spent a semester at Hasbro Children’s Hospital where, as difficult as it was to care for a sick child, it was more difficult for the parents.
“The children were usually very young and didn’t understand what was happening to them,” Correia said. “The hardest thing about pediatrics was explaining things to the parents, who were very concerned for their child. It was very difficult to explain what was happening and keep them calm.”
Her rotation at Women and Infants Hospital was equally challenging.
“I initially came in wanting to be a maternity nurse, but I quickly realized that I might not,” she said with a smile. “The pressure is high, and the mother is not in her normal state of mind. It could be rough in there.”
Eventually Correia realized that she wanted to work on a medical-surgical ward caring for patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments, like she did at Roger Williams Hospital in her very first rotation.
“It was my first real introduction to taking care of people with serious illnesses,” she said. “I was nervous and scared, and that’s when you realize that it’s no longer a game. But I loved it.”
After graduation, Correia will apply to the novice nurse program at Rhode Island Hospital, but she hopes to one day earn a master’s degree and become a family nurse practitioner to help prevent illnesses. She is also considering becoming a nurse in the Air Force.
“It’s a scary time to be in the military right now, and my mom doesn’t like it at all, but I really like the idea of taking care of the people who are fighting for our country,” said Correia. “Maybe that’s what I was meant to do.”