Clare Chiarolanza graduated with her BSN from the College of Nursing in 2017. She returned to her alma mater in 2018 to begin her FNP degree. In addition to working towards her FNP degree, Chiarolanza earned her CMSRN certification this year.
What is your current job?
I currently work as a staff nurse on an Acute Care Medicine floor at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. I have been on the same floor for the past 3 years since graduating with my BSN from UofSC in 2017.
Living in St. Louis, why did you decide to return to UofSC to earn your Master’s degree?
When deciding on a school for my master’s, I don’t remember ever entertaining the idea of a school other than UofSC. I loved that I already knew and had relationships with some of the faculty. I knew what their expectations of us were, how they utilized blackboard, and other virtual resources. I was also drawn to the fact that UofSC is ranked as the #1 online graduate nursing program for public universities by US News and World Report. I loved the excuse to come back to campus throughout the program for immersion days, and visit my alma mater again.
What are your career goals?
My goal for my FNP career is to move back home, to my small county in southern Illinois and help provide primary or urgent care to the rural area.
How has your job been impacted by covid-19?
During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, my floor was shut down due to low hospital census. BJH had transformed some of the closed floors into COVID units. Since our home floor was closed, we were pulled all over the hospital for each shift, frequently being to the COVID floors. I was low-censused twice, which was almost unheard of at such a big, busy hospital like Barnes.
Why are you so passionate about nursing?
It wasn't until I started working in the hospital that I truly fell in love with caring for people. At BJH, we get a very difficult patient population; some extremely sick, some very difficult rare diseases/conditions, some tough social situations. At the end of a shift you almost always feel completely drained emotionally and physically, but it’s the good kind of exhaustion, like you just did something great for people, and it feels good to be proud of that.