Meet Tasha and Sam

Meet Tasha and Sam

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Tasha Smith, class of 2015, from Great Falls, MT.

  • Capstone: St. Peter's Hospital (Helena, MT), Women and Children's Unit 
  • Current Employment: St. Peter's Hospital (Helena, MT), Oncology Unit

Sam Ellison, class of 2015, from Moscow, ID.

  • Capstone: Benefis Hospital (Great Falls, MT), Intensive Care Unit
  • Current Employment: Parkland Hospital (Dallas, TX), Burn Inensive Care Unit

Tasha and Sam graduated in 2015! Below, you will hear them explain how their experiences as Carroll nursing students equipped them with the knowledge and skills to be confident and successful nurses.

Q & A with Tasha and Sam

sam.jpgWhy did you choose Carroll College?

Sam: My high school guidance counselor spoke very highly of Carroll, so I decided to visit. When I toured Carroll, I knew that it was a great fit for me!  Helena’s access to outdoor opportunities, the tight-knit feel of the campus, and the opportunity to know my professors on a personal level made it an easy decision.

Tasha: I chose Carroll because of the amazing nursing program. Also, it was still fairly close to my family but far enough away that I could have some independence. My visit confirmed my decision because everyone was so friendly, and I felt that I could easily make Helena and Carroll my home for the next four years.

What’s your favorite memory as a student in the nursing program?

Sam: When I was beginning my second semester of my junior year, I was in one of my first few clinical shifts on the surgical floor at St. Peter’s Hospital. I was very excited to be there because the medical-surgical clinical rotation is where you really start to put together everything that you have been learning.   During the shift, my preceptor guided me through the process of inserting a nasogastic tube into a patient suffering from stomach pain.  I successfully inserted the tube and watched as the pain in the patient’s stomach was immediately relieved. It was an incredible feeling, knowing that I had helped that patient in such a huge way.  The experience confirmed for me that I had chosen the right profession.

Tasha: Although I have many memorable experiences as a nursing student at Carroll, one of the more recent ones was the Senior Nursing Class Christmas Party that we had at a professor’s house. We ate lots of great food and had a white elephant gift exchange. It was a blast!

What meaningful opportunities have you experienced outside of the classroom?

Tasha: I was involved in CCSNA (Carroll College Student Nurses’ Association) for four years.  We participated in numerous service projects and fundraising drives.  I was also a member of the International Nursing Honors Society SSTI (Sigma Theta Tau), and I experienced some incredible international opportunities while learning about global health issues.  I was able to make connections with nursing students from New Zealand and Norway as well as travel to Ireland for a Public Health Nursing Conference.

Sam: During my time at Carroll, I worked at Shodair Children’s Hospital as a mental health technician.  I established a connection at Shodair while completing my clinical rotation for our Psychosocial Health class.  When I wasn’t in class or working, I enjoyed participating in intramural sports.  One of my favorite memories is winning the basketball intramural championship my sophomore year.

You both participated in a nursing department-led service trip to India. How were you impacted by the trip?

Tasha: The service we provided to the people in Varanasi, particularly the children was life-altering. One of the most powerful experiences was riding in a malnutrition ambulance with nurses from the local Children’s Hospital.  Every day, these nurses drive into the slums in an effort to identify malnourished children and provide them with nutritional supplements.  I am a changed and better person because of people I encountered in India and I know that I will return someday.  

Sam: Before we left for India, I knew that the biggest shock was going to be the sheer number of people residing in the country.  India is roughly 1/3 of the total land area of the U.S., yet the country is home to 1.25 billion people – nearly four times the population of the U.S.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of people and the great need in the country, but I know that we helped a number of people by providing healthcare services, medication, food, clothing, and basic hygiene items. Since returning, I am more compassionate and caring because India helped me realize that small acts like smiling and taking the time to talk with someone can make all the difference.

Where are you employed now and how did Carroll prepare you for the nursing profession?

Sam: I am currently employed as an RN in the Burn ICU at Parkland Hospital. I knew that I really wanted to work in a critical care area after graduation, and Carroll prepared me to work in a high-intensity environment. The nursing department utilizes high-tech simulated patients that allow students to practice performing many different assessments. This simulated training as well as my capstone clinical rotation at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana prepared me to work in an intensive care unit.

Tasha: Carroll College helped me to truly grow and become the person that I am today. I was equipped to become not only the best nurse that I can be, but also the best human I can be! I now work in oncology unit at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena. Eventually, I would like to take the skills I learned at Carroll and practice abroad.  Carroll has prepared and encouraged me in international endeavors and offers a wide variety of study abroad and international travel options.

Think you might look amazing in purple scrubs?

Want to be a leader in the nursing profession? Like Sam and Tasha, in four years you could be embarking on a nursing career with the knowledge, maturity, and clinical skills that a Carroll College nursing education provides, ensuring that you’re prepared for this exciting occupation!

Beginning sophomore year, nursing students train in well-equipped, state-of-the-art nursing labs with high-fidelity patient simulators, while also participating in a wide variety of hands-on clinical rotations. Like Sam and Tasha, Carroll nursing students have a heart for service too! Shodair Children’s Hospital, St. Jude’s Hospital, Special Olympics, Son Heaven Assisted Living Facility, and Florence Crittenton Home are just a few of the beneficiaries of fundraising and volunteer activities organized by nursing students.