Female Empowerment On Campus

Female Empowerment On Campus

Women encouraging women.
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These past few years in college have really opened me up to a lot and have allowed me to have a new perspective on things.

College is a time when there is so much changing around us but we are still learning about ourselves at the same time. One of the most important realizations I have had involves what it really means to be a female college student right now.

On just one small college campus, I have seen the importance of empowerment, courage, and individuality and how it is affecting young women during this time.

Before I came to college, I honestly didn’t think too much on female empowerment. However, I started to slowly see how important is was and how uncommon it can be sometimes. This is so evident because I am confined to a small campus where certain situations are more personal and obvious. During this time, all of us are striving to accomplish the same thing. We want to graduate and get a degree and do what we love.

Now more than ever, young women should embrace and uplift the other young women in our lives. This sounds so simple and obvious, but it is surprising how little it occurs. It is so easy to compare our success to other girls therefore allowing discouragement and insecurities to take over.

Sadly, women are held to many expectations that sometimes make it hard to find positivity and self-love. By experiencing this first hand, I have realized that putting that love and encouragement in others has helped me find my own self-love.

We are young women who are struggling to live up to these standards and expectations, and empowering each other can create an amazing amount of love and change. I have to remind myself of this constantly in order to create an environment that builds me up and builds up the other young women in my life.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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Thinking About Your Future Is Hard

College is where you really have to start planning your future.

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Since I'm still an undergrad, I have some time to plan my life after college - that is my life once I graduate and get my Bachelor's.

When I first came to college, I didn't expect much out of what I'd do once I received my Bachelor's in Animal Science. I just assumed that I was going to go straight into vet school, become a veterinarian, and open my own practice.

Nope. Not today.

I, of course, switched my major to English so I could concentrate my skills in creative writing. I didn't know what I could do as a creative writer and everyone assumed I wanted to be a teacher. During my panic, I took several career assessments and found some similar career paths that appealed to me and now I have a plan. I'm not saying it's full proof but it's a plan nonetheless.

It's nerve-wracking trying to make sure you're on the correct path. So I'm planning to go to grad school and get a masters and then a Ph.D. It's just the process of applying and funding grad school makes me want to curl into a ball, in a corner, on my bed, and under the covers. My mind freezes whenever I have to think about the fact that I, Jacqulea Anderson, will be going to grad school once I graduate. Me. ME! It's mind-blowing because I have a clue as to what I want to pursue relating to my Master's but not for my Doctorate's. Creative writing has a master's program, but to get my Ph.D., I would have to just get it in English if I want to stay that route. Which adds to the stress of planning my life after college.

Everything changes: your mind, tastes, and wants change. They develop the older you get and once you realize you don't want to pursue your dream major, then it's back to the drawing board. While you can change your degree in grad school, it's also a good idea to have a slight clue as to what program you want to apply for.

Along the way, you figure out the adult part of life. Such as taxes, insurance, rent/mortgage, random bills, credit scores, and everything else under the sun because who actually taught us what we needed to know about adult living? You have to figure out where you want to live and if it's convenient enough distance wise from your job or school. There's just so much to factor in once you leave undergrad and you have a support system (hopefully) that will help guide you, but in the end, it's still you. You have to be the one to make the decisions on what you want to do with your life based on the choices you were given. If you can make your own choice then more power to you.

Life is hard. College is hard. Learning to be a functioning adult that has 85% of their life together is a dream I'm just trying to make come true.

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