Balancing nursing degree and cross-country
Ever since Lauren Brandner saw the births of her two younger siblings, she’s wanted
to be a midwife. As a sophomore, she’s now working toward that goal as she
heads into LaGrange College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
“The doctor who delivered my brother and sister was phenomenal, and she knew how
interested as I was when I watched my brother be born,” Lauren says. “So when my
sister came along, the doctor let me put on scrubs with her and ask all the questions
I wanted to. That was the turning point for me.”
Midwives are specialists in childbirth, postpartum and well-woman health care.
They are educated to train and recognize the variations of the normal progression
of labor and deal with deviations from the normal to discern and intervene in high-risk
situations. In some cases, midwives work alongside obstetricians, while in others,
only a midwife is present during delivery.
“Midwives spend a lot of time with mothers; they get to help you become a better
parent,” Lauren says. “They’re there not just before and after the birth of your
baby, but they’re there to support you for however long you want them to be in
your life. You can reference them for anything. If your child is sick, you can
call them in the middle of the night.
“It’s like having a support team. A midwife is good especially for someone who
doesn’t have a mom they can go to and say, ‘How do I do this?’ or ‘My baby’s acting
this way. What does that mean?’”
Lauren was drawn to LaGrange College after graduating from The Heritage School
in Newnan in large part because it was close to home, and her guidance counselor
told her how every LaGrange College nursing graduate from 2009 to 2012 had passed
the National Council License Examination, or NCLEX, o n the first try, a feat almost
unheard of at other colleges and universities with Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Lauren is complementing her nursing major with a minor in psychology. Most nursing
majors do not choose a minor because of the rigor of earning the BSN degree, but
one of her psychology professors encouraged her, saying she was only two classes
short of earning the designation.
“There’s the emotional side of being a midwife in addition to the medical side,”
Lauren says. “It’s important to be able to relate to people in this profession,
and I think the psychology minor will be an asset for me. I may not be able to
say to a patient, ‘I know what you’re going through, but I do know about it on
a deep level and will do whatever I can to help you through it.’”
Lauren balances her academic work by running cross-county at LaGrange College.
In high school, she was on the swimming, cross-country, track and soccer teams.
She also was a cheerleader for two years.
“I’ve talked with nursing students, and most of them don’t do a lot of extra-curricular
activities because their classes require so much studying. But I love doing cross-country.
It’s a great outlet for me socially and emotionally. Cross-country works best with
majors who have to be intensely involved with schoolwork because it doesn’t interfere
with your schedule quite as much. Even if you can’t come to practices when they’re
scheduled, usually you can work around that.”
Her days often start by running at 6:30 a.m. She has found that her coach makes
other time available for his student-athletes.
“Last year I was commuting from Newnan and couldn’t make the 6:30 practices because
it was an hour away,” she says.
“So I would come run in the afternoons, and he
would be there still. There was a huge support system that enabled me to continue
running in college.”
She’s also found her professors at LaGrange College to be supportive.
“You really get to know your professors here,” she says. “You email your teachers,
and they know who you are. They recognize your face when you walk into the classroom.
It’s nice coming here because I can walk into any teacher’s classroom without an
appointment and say, ‘I’m having a problem with this. Can you help me?