Nursing students walking outside.
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This year, the Carthage Nursing Program has expanded its reach with a series of professional development events that prepare students for their future careers.

The Professional Identity Program (PIP) is mandatory for freshman nursing students and is strongly encouraged for all others pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Students in the program meet about once a month to discuss dynamic topics, learn from guest speakers, and do group activities.

“It’s an honor to design this program and see firsthand how nursing students benefit from it,” says Professor Julie Maher, PIP facilitator.

During events, upper-level students help freshmen through open panel discussions.

“As an upperclassman, it has been a joy to share my thoughts with the younger students,” says Jillian Shorten ’23, a nursing mentor and member of the Nursing Student Council. “These nights reflect the importance of collaboration.”

Much like The Aspire Program, Carthage’s comprehensive career development sequence, PIP gets nursing students thinking about their future from day one.

“You are exposed to study tactics, taught strategies for the NCLEX (licensing exam), and offered many opportunities to ask open and honest questions,” Jillian says. “PIP makes you think past your course content and into the other characteristics that will help you to be a successful nurse.”

Community hospital employees give presentations about employment opportunities, interview preparation, and how to create an effective resume and cover letter. PIP Career Night stood out the most to Nicole Pukala ’23, another nursing mentor.

“Prof. Maher brought in so many different kinds of nurses for us to listen and ask questions to,” says Nicole. “And they shared stories about how truly diverse a career in nursing can be.”

The program also taps into the expertise from other Carthage departments. For example, Human Resources staff presented interview tips, The Aspire Center staff presented resources for resumes, and Professor Chao Zheng of the Accounting and Finance Department presented on retirement plans.

As Nicole sums it up, “I am confident that Prof. Maher’s Professional Identity Program has made me more prepared to become a nurse.”