Upstate nursing student found the career she loves

SUNY Upstate College of Nursing student

Stephanie Jarvis, RN BS, during a recent shift at the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. After considering other careers, Stephanie went into nursing -- "the best decision I've ever made" -- and is pursuing a master's degree.

Nursing wasn’t always at the top of Stephanie Jarvis’ list of career options.

After graduating from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, Stephanie enrolled at Onondaga Community College to study criminal justice.

From there she went to LeMoyne College for a sociology degree, then back to OCC to study business.

None of those felt right.

Then one of her friends – a nurse – suggested nursing as a possibility. Stephanie decided to give it a shot at OCC.

“I remember how frightened I was the first day of class,” she said.

The two-year nursing program at Onondaga was challenging, Stephanie said, but she soon overcame any doubts. She graduated from the program and enrolled in Upstate’s College of Nursing as an RN.

While earning her bachelor’s degree at Upstate, Stephanie worked in the hospital’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation unit, then switched to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

She’s now in the master’s program at Upstate to become a Nurse Practitioner.

SUNY Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital nurse

Stephanie Jarvis, RN BS

“I love it,” Stephanie said. “It’s not a profession where you can just slide by. You have to love it.”

Her advice to students considering nursing?

“Follow your heart,” she said. “Try it, no matter how hard it is, and keep going. There are so many people you can help.”

Eventually, Stephanie wants to combine patient care with teaching. She’s accustomed to being in the classroom while working full-time as a nurse – she enjoys the critical thinking involved in trying to improve patient care — but has her sights set on transitioning from student to teacher.

In addition to working 80 hours every two weeks in the PICU, Stephanie’s taking two or three graduate-level classes each semester. 

“Going into nursing is the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “I like change, and keeping busy is important to me. Nursing is the only profession that offers change on a daily basis.”




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