Gillian Debick

Photo of Gillian Debick
"Throughout my time spent in the NICU, I got really see how invested the nurses were in not only their patients, but also their families, which was really inspiring to me."

Why did you choose the WVU School of Nursing?

I chose WVU School of Nursing because of its location and reputation. I was accepted into a couple of nursing programs in PA, but I wanted to have the chance to “leave the nest” and explore a new place. When I came to tour WVU, everyone was so welcoming and it really did feel like home.

Why did you choose Nursing as a profession?

I chose nursing as a profession for a couple of reasons. The first being that my grandmother was a CRNA. She always told me stories growing up about nursing school, her early days as an RN, and then stories about being a CRNA. I could tell her career gave her a strong sense of pride and that she genuinely enjoyed what she did for a living. I also chose nursing—specifically NICU nursing—as a profession because in high school, one of my close family friends gave birth to twins. While her twins were in the NICU, I would go with her and her husband to keep an eye on their son who was two at the time. Throughout my time spent in the NICU, I got really see how invested the nurses were in not only their patients, but also their families, which was really inspiring to me.

Did you have an “a-ha!” moment when they knew they knew this was the right major for you?

I always knew nursing was the right major for me. However, I think I had an “a-ha” moment when I knew which specialty I wanted to pursue. The day I shadowed in the NICU, was when I really knew I wanted to be a neonatal nurse. This experience drove me to continue to excel in not only clinical but the classroom setting as well to hopefully secure a spot in the NICU for my leadership experience.

Did you participate in any student organizations or clubs while at WVU?

I was a member of Student Nurses Association, a tutor for the School of Nursing, and a member of Sigma.

What piece of advice would you give to the incoming class?

A piece of advice I would give to the incoming class is to take a deep breath. When you walk into your first nursing lecture, you will likely walk out short of breath and feeling more anxious than before. Know that this is totally okay and normal. However, don’t let this control the next three years of your life. Find a good group of friends to study and de-stress with. These people are the ones who will get you through the next three years. Nursing is always better when working as a team.

Why should a potential nursing student choose the WVU School of Nursing? 

They should choose WVU School of Nursing because the school really tries to give the students the best opportunities to learn. The school also helps students feel prepared to take their boards upon graduation.

It has been a little different ending your education at home under quarantine. How have you adapted? 

I have adapted by trying to make a daily routine for myself and sticking to it. It is really easy to go to sleep whenever and wake up whenever during the days of quarantine. Being able to set a schedule for myself has helped keep me sane. I have also tried to make sure I go outside for a walk or bike ride whenever the weather allowed. Getting to breathe fresh air and move your body can really help your well-being!

Where are you off to next? Do you have a job lined up? 

I am going to stay in Morgantown. I was lucky enough to be offered a position in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. After passing my boards, I will be ready to start!

Coronavirus has shown us the very best of health care professionals in trying times. Has this made you more focused on becoming a nurse/convinced you that you have made the right decision? 

The coronavirus situation has definitely convinced me that I made the right decision. I have really learned a lot from this situation, but one thing I learned the most was that healthcare workers are essential. Everything else in the world could be canceled, but we as nurses still need to show up every day. That alone gives me a strong sense of pride.

Did you receive any honors or awards?

I was on the President’s List every semester and I will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

2020 is the Year of the Nurse and is also 200 years since Florence Nightingale was born. What do you think is special about nurses?

Nurses are extremely special people. Not just anyone can become a nurse. In order to be a nurse, you must be able to critically think and know a wide variety of information. However, nursing isn’t all about knowing medications and turning your patients. As a nurse, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable so patients feel comfortable opening up to you.