For Crystal Nettles, taking care of others “just feels right.” A junior at IU School of Nursing, Crystal first considered a nursing career after helping to take care of her grandmother. When her younger brother was involved in a serious auto accident, Crystal realized the difference nurses can make in people’s lives.
“I saw how nurses can reach people and families, and that’s the reason I want to be a nurse,” she says. “I like to help people.”
Crystal also likes a challenge. Her goal after graduating next year is to work in an ICU or in the emergency department. She’s also thinking about continuing her studies and becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
“From talking to ICU nurses in my clinical rotations, I know that critical thinking is a very important part of nursing,” Crystal says. “It’s what nurses in these fields have to do, and it’s something I enjoy.”
During this academic year, Crystal is serving as co-president of IUSON’s Student Nurses Association (SNA). As part of her leadership role, she is one of the coordinators for the association’s Student Nurse Partnership Program, a mentorship initiative for incoming nursing students.
“I’m a member of the committee that pairs students with mentors,” she says. “Based on what the student wants and needs in terms of engagement, we pair them with an upper-class mentor. Sometimes students just want to meet for coffee or get advice or tips for classes and exams—we work to find a good match for them.”
Crystal’s fellow students aren’t the only ones who will benefit from her leadership this year. In addition to serving as president of SNA at IUPUI, Crystal is a member of the National Student Nurses Association Board of Directors. She’s serving as the membership chair and director for the northern region. As part of her duties, in November she will be attending the organization’s national convention in Virginia Beach.
“I know it's hard trying to balance everything as a nursing student, but I encourage students to be active because at least for me, it’s really helped me develop and grow professionally and personally.”