March 22, 2017

ENVS Blog: Pursuing a Career in Nursing

Erin Scheibe (’15) writes about her experiences pursuing a career in nursing after graduating from the Environmental Studies Program at Lewis & Clark College.

Erin Scheibe (’15)

As an ENVS major at Lewis & Clark, I was involved in projects and classes that spanned many areas of interest. Environmental Studies is such a broad field and I appreciated that the program gave us the opportunity to take classes in departments all over campus. One of the highlights of my ENVS experience was my participation in the summer overseas program to Swaziland lead by Jim Proctor. There, our group completed an environmental health assessment in the peri-urban communities where we were located. When I graduated from Lewis & Clark in May 2015 I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in public health, but I wasn’t exactly sure where to start. I decided a good way to get my foot in the door was to start volunteering. That summer, I began volunteering at Bloodworks Northwest, a local blood collection organization, as well as Providence Portland Medical Center.

Originally I thought I might want to go back to school to pursue a Master of Public Health, but my volunteer experience at the hospital inspired me to look into a career where I could have more patient interaction. I became a certified nursing assistant and I ended up loving it. Now I’m back in school working toward my second Bachelor’s degree—this time in nursing. I’m about halfway through the accelerated BSN program at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. I’ll be graduating in August. After that, the plan is to get experience working as a Registered Nurse at a hospital on a medical-surgical floor. Eventually I see myself working outside the hospital setting as a public health nurse. This summer I’ll be completing a community health class and clinical through my nursing school. The completion of these clinical hours will prepare me to apply for a public health certificate in the state of California. Some areas of public health nursing that interest me right now are diabetes management, nutrition education, and pregnancy and postpartum care.

Like Environmental Studies, nursing is diverse. The interdisciplinary focus of the ENVS program equipped me to follow many different career paths after graduation, and I’m happy I chose nursing. I am grateful for the possibilities that both my nursing and ENVS degrees give me. A career that combines nursing with public health advocacy and research is my ultimate goal. The research opportunities I was afforded as an ENVS major will help immensely to achieve this. I know that attending Lewis & Clark and majoring in ENVS was a smart move. It allowed me to discover my interest in public health, but I also gained skills in situated research, communication, and critical thinking that will be relevant for my nursing career and life in general.