By Khrystal McLune
Professor Charlyn Habeeb is an adjunct nursing professor at St. Francis College. She hold a Masters Degree and is also pursing her Doctoral studies with her dissertation concentrated in Diabetes in African American males. She gets candid in this Q&A about what drove her to this career path, her passions and what new or aspiring nurses should put at the forefront of their mind when it comes to their careers post graduate.
Q: What inspired you to be a nurse?
A: “I just love to give care it’s something I enjoy doing ever since I was eight years old. I identified that I like to position myself into more of a helping role. I love to help and give care and I think that’s what really pushed me.”
She proceeded to open up about her first hand personal experience on how she came to this realization. Her sister was her first indication that this would be the career path she would go on to pursue stick with and continue to grow in for years to come.
A: “Then there is my only sister and my nursing skills developed from her taking care of her. She was mentally and physically disabled. She really couldn’t do anything for herself so I had to grow up overnight to help my mom to take care of her as it was myself, my mom, my brother and her; it was hard. I wish that I could make it that everyone’s OK and has no problems”
She also goes into depth as it pertains to understaffing and the lack of support from leadership in this growing field.
Q:What challenges do you face as a nurse?
A: “We do not get support from management. It’s basically each other that we have at the bedside, so if you’re a staff nurse, there isn’t much management. More is expected of us and less is given to us.
“We are under appreciated, that’s the main challenge, feeling appreciated and having adequate staff. We are taking care of the population that is sicker than previous generations and patients, you would find that, their care will be managed in close monitoring units like step down or progressive care units
“They are actually being managed on the floor and you have to wonder sometimes if the nurses really have the skillsets to care for these patients or are prepared to take care of them. The patient’s on the step down are the ones that should be in the medical ICU; so because of this shift you find that it can be challenging.”
Many people often question if furthering your education will remove you from your caring and compassionate of a role nurse. Professor Habeeb not only proves why it is important to obtain higher education in this field but also shows that you can have balance in the merging of the two worlds.
Q:Is it worth getting your doctorate or Masters in nursing and why?
A: “Most definitely! The Institute of Medicine, in the call for reform of the healthcare system, I think in 2010, they implore nurses to seek higher education to be more prepared to manage patient population.
“So, I would say yes and also, the fact that as a nurse you want to be able to have the knowledge, skill set and attitude to manage your patient; it is very important. Of course, nursing foster’s life long learning.
“The only way that can be achievable or realized is seeking higher education. Meaning, go as high as getting doctoral degrees or terminal degrees, but that doesn’t say that education stops there. You can still pursue other areas to get certification, so this is very important. Of course, to be more marketable, which means making my money as well.
“Also, to be able to be more qualified to assume more leadership roles as a nurses. I would implore every nurse to do that and don’t wait until it’s too late.”
Q:What’s your specialty?
A: I love nursing education. I am very passionate about it. I’m very much for young nurses and student nurses. I wish, I could give them all the tools they need to function effectively as nurses.
“I’m also passionate about the geriatric population, which is my specialty area. I love to give direct care, that’s why I still stayed at the bedside and state in practice. I like to know that I’m touching my patients so those are the two areas that I really love and that are special to me. Nursing education and Geriatrics.”
Finally, Professor Habeeb takes her experience as a nurse to give some advice to future nurses as well as give us her view on what health is.
Q: What advice would you give to a future nurse?
A: “Get into a facility that, if you have outstanding student loans, will help to cut down on your loans. Also, get into a facility that has a residency program because they gear towards research, engage you and prepares you to gradually to become expert nurses. New nurses start out as novices.
“Other than the training and very limited clinical experience, they do not have that experience to really function as expert nurses.
“So, I would say get into an organization that has the residency program. They run throughout the year and they will have mentoring and support. They won’t get fed up and turn away from the profession as that can happen. It can be overwhelming, if you feel like there is no support and that can push that person away. So, if possible, get into an organization that offers such a program.
“Some of them, like Downstate and a few other hospitals, they use the Patricia Benner Model which starts from novice to expert. You start out with the novice and then advanced beginner and it gradually develops. While progressing, you have a mentor to work with and a preceptor. The mentor, you can share if you don’t feel like you’re getting what you need from the orientation process.
“They can help you and you can vent to them and the preceptor helps to guide you through the process. I would say get into an organization that fosters education, help you to grow and develop. Not to just stay at one level. They will help you to realize your goals because you have to have goals as new nurses to go forward and to grow.”
Q: How has nursing influence your outlook on health?
A: “Personally, Health is in a continuum. We are doing a more preventative approach towards health where we try to prevent diseases and illness from occurring.
“So, my outlook on health is you do all you can to stay as healthy as you can for as long as you can. It does not mean to me, there is absence of comorbidities or absence of any condition that will subject a person to getting sick.
“It means people are able to function and do as much as they can while they can. That is my view on health, it is being able along with the comorbidities, to function at your highest level of functionality.”