Q & A with University of Maryland School of Nursing Student Pranav Sunil

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am currently a second semester student at University of Maryland School of Nursing, Shady Grove Campus. My dream job is to work either in a Cardiac ICU or Pediatric ICU. I love soccer, the gym, and being a big brother to my younger, 18-year-old brother. 


Why nursing? 

I have always had a passion for the healthcare field. I started off as pre-med but then I realized how in nursing you can specialize after a few years on the floor to become a Nurse Practitioner or a Nurse Anesthetist. I love taking care of people and spending time to support them at their weakest moments. The patient interaction often happens most with nurses rather than other providers, so it led me to choose this field. 


What drew you to your particular nursing school? 

Home! I live 20 minutes away from Shady Grove so the choice was easy between the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses. Maryland also had a direct admission criteria for nursing school in which you did not have to take the TEAS Exam [Test of Essential Academic Skills)if you have a certain GPA for your prerequisites. (*this is called the Guaranteed Nursing Pathway)


What extracurricular activities do you think best prepared you for nursing school? 

Team-oriented extracurriculars such as soccer helped me prepare, as well as internships at hospitals all throughout high school and the early years of undergraduate school. Nursing is very team-oriented, and playing soccer all my life helped me gain that team-oriented personality. My internships at hospitals helped me gain the clinical knowledge and manifestations I currently study, so my foundation is really strong.


What are the challenges you face in nursing school? 

Balancing school and my social life is the biggest challenge I face. Nursing school requires a lot of studying and extra efforts such as going into an open lab on days off to hone your hands-on skills such as catheters, IV pushing techniques, and sterility. Clinical shifts at the hospital range from 8-12 hours and I currently have two that happen on Friday and Saturday--the time I can see or be with friends is very limited. It is really important to have a social life and make friends during school to help you keep your emotional and mental health. Another challenge I faced during the first semester was study techniques. You quite literally have to memorize and apply a lot of drugs, disease manifestations, etc. to do well in both the course and NCLEX [National Council Licensure Examination]. Attending GSS [Guided Study Sessions] and office hours was something I never did at College Park, so I had to force myself to take time out of my day to do so. 


What hobbies do you have outside of nursing?

I currently play intramural soccer with friends and go to the gym every day. I balance this by having a planner every semester and write down how I want to spend the hours in my day. It helps me understand I have time to relax.


What advice would you give your younger self? 

I would tell my younger self to not be so close-minded when trying to find out what you want to do as an adult. I spent most of my life chasing pre-medicine but had no real passion for it. I lost a year at UMD due to my sudden switch to nursing. If I had taken time to know what I truly wanted to do, I could have gained that year back. 


Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Nursing School is amazing, and I honestly recommend it to anybody who knows they love to help people, has a passion for healthcare, and loves the hospital setting. It is a very rewarding field, and if you want to become a practitioner later, you can always go back to school to get a Nurse Practitioner license.