Escarlet Lara-Lopez ’24 is quick to admit that nursing school is difficult. She is also the first person to seek help when she doesn’t understand something and the first student to volunteer to do a new task in her clinical group.
“Although I was afraid, I knew there was no other way to learn other than throwing myself in and grasping all the information that I could,” she said.
At Avon Grove High School, Lara-Lopez developed a passion for science and became equally fascinated with the way the body heals, regenerates and reproduces. This interest, combined with her classes, has led Lara-Lopez to contemplate a career in labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care or within the gynecology field. Although she is passionate about a career in this specialty, she also appreciates that the nursing field is so diverse with many career options.
When Lara-Lopez was researching college nursing programs, she knew she wanted a smaller school and an environment where she could engage with her professors. Some of her teachers in high school touted Immaculata’s nursing program, so she applied and was accepted.
Since entering, she has not been disappointed. She’s impressed by the amount of support that she and her classmates receive from the faculty and is “super excited” about the new Parsons Science Pavilion, opening this August. She is an active member of the Immaculata’s Student Nurses Association, where she and her classmates can ease stress and support one another.
For Lara-Lopez the Fundamentals of Nursing course has been the most interesting class thus far. In this class, she learned what to look for when treating a patient—and what the signs/symptoms mean. Learning to make sense of certain medical conditions, she starts with a series of questions that she learned in class, such as Why is this happening? How is this affecting the patient? What interventions are you doing to subside the symptoms?
“This class really challenged me because I had to focus on thinking like a nurse,” she said.
Although she has not completed her degree yet, Lara-Lopez understands the importance of lifelong learning. “As a nurse, learning never ends because science and health are evolutionary fields,” she states. “Nursing is a career in which I will constantly be learning, which is something I look forward to.”
After graduating with her B.S.N. from Immaculata, she plans to work as a registered nurse and then pursue her M.S.N. She entertains the idea of entering academia—to teach the next generation of nursing students.
Currently, Lara-Lopez is doing a year-long externship at Main Line Health/Paoli Hospital on a telemetry unit. With this opportunity, she will gain invaluable experience and learn from professionals. Being bilingual, she hopes to use this skill to help patients of her ethnicity. She acknowledges that she has personally experienced situations where she didn’t know where to get help or even where to start looking for help. This is one way that she can make a positive impact—even before delving into her nursing role. Cultural competence is an area that she plans to implement in her career by appreciating and interacting with all cultures and to advocate for diversity and minorities in nursing.
With a dedication to wanting to help others, Lara-Lopez has found her calling in life and is embracing her education.
“I think being able to go to college for a profession I am truly passionate about is a privilege,” Lara-Lopez says.