Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

Donna Nielsen Reflects on Life as a Nursing Professor

Ever wonder what it is like to be a nursing professional?  Here are a few thoughts from  Professor Donna Nielsen, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at Pasadena City College, on professional life.  Thanks to Professor Nielsen for sharing her thoughts.

Q:  Please describe your current position in detail.  What types of responsibilities do you have?  How many projects do you typically work on?  Do you have an “average day”?  If so, what is it like?

A:  An assistant professor’s duties include lectures, lab, seminars, clinicals.  I have office hours and often work on weekends, correcting papers and writing tests.

Q:  What are the biggest pros and cons of the career path that you have chosen?

A:  I receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing my students become successful RNs.  The cons are simply that the job “never ends.”

Q:  How important was your PCC education in leading you to where you are today?

A:  PCC was extremely important.  I had wonderful mentors and role models.

Q:  What other training have you had?  How did you get it?

A:  I was a nursing assistant, medical assistant, RN in the ICU, and ER.  I took classes in those areas, and I also have a Master’s degree in Science in Nursing.

Q:  What else (for instance, current health issues/trends, concern for others, research questions, etc.) has influenced your thinking about nursing?

A:  I subscribe to at least five nursing journals and two newspapers, to keep current in my field and world events.

Q:  Have you had mentors who have helped you?  How have they helped you?

A:  Yes—a physician who encouraged me to become a nurse and nursing instructors who have inspired me.

Q:  Where do you see yourself in ten years?  Where do you see yourself at the end of your career?

A:  I see myself still teaching in 10 years.  At the end of my career, I would possibly like to become a legal nurse consultant and author.

Q:  What advice would you give to a student just starting his/her clinical(s)?

A:  Stay focused and take care of physical and emotional health!

Q:  What one piece of advice would you give to a new graduate just starting his/her health sciences career?

A:  Find a mentor!!!