Meet Sierra.

Sierra Arbaugh
Sierra Arbaugh

What made you consider nursing as a program of study?

When I started college, I actually didn’t want to be a nurse! I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to become, but I was looking into pre-med majors and wanted one that would set me up for success whether I decided to pursue higher education or not. I chose nursing because of the many opportunities it presented, and because many of the nurses I knew had so highly recommended it. Once I began nursing school, I realized how hard it really was and convinced myself that I made the wrong decision until one day, everything began to click. I remember walking to my car after getting an A on a quiz for the first time and crying happy tears because I finally felt like I had found my footing. It was tough, but I’m so glad I continued on because I truly love nursing and couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Did you have an ah-ha moment about wanting to become a nurse?

When it comes to nursing, there are so many moments that solidified that I was in the right career. One that stands out to me is from when I was working as a CA in NCCU. A young child had come to visit a family member who was a patient on the unit. I went in to check vitals and stopped to talk to the little boy while his father was talking with the nurse. The father stopped me later to tell me how thankful he was that I had talked to the boy and how excited the little boy was to tell him all about the interaction. He told me that I was going to be a great nurse one day because he could see how passionate I was. That was the first time that someone had noticed and reinforced that I was doing the right thing, and it made me feel like I was truly making a difference in people’s lives.

Why did you choose WVU School of Nursing? 

I chose WVU because of the many opportunities it offered, and knew that I would not be able to get the same opportunities elsewhere. I have been involved in many organizations, participated in research, and been able to share my passion with others through volunteering and work experience. WVU SON highly values clinical experience that begins at the beginning of nursing school whereas others do not. The clinical rotations allowed me to see procedures, interact with other healthcare professionals, and learn many invaluable skills.

Could you share a positive experience from your time at the SON?

I enjoyed my time being involved with the SNA and NSNA. Those organizations allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to expand my communication skills, step into leadership roles, and network with influential members of the nursing community.

What’s one piece of advice you would give your freshman self?

One piece of advice I would give to my freshman self would be to step out of your comfort zone and make more connections with other nursing students. The only people who truly understand nursing school are the ones in it, and it is helpful to have people to study with, ask questions, and be there when you’ve had a tough day in clinical.

What are your plans after graduation?

I have accepted a job in the NICU at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital and am so excited to begin my nursing career!

How do you feel WVU prepared you for your next chapter?

WVU has taught me so much both inside and outside of the classroom. Throughout my time here, I have developed communication techniques, time management skills, and learned how to set priorities. I feel that I have grown so much as a person throughout my college experience and am confident in my ability to navigate my future as a result.