Katie and Kimberly Mitts ’17 may be nearing the end of their time at Pace in the nursing program, but the pair is forever grateful for the lessons, experiences, simulation scenarios, and mentoring they have received along their Pace Path.
When asked how they would describe their Pace experience, nursing majors Katie and Kimberly Mitts ’17 had a few words come to mind when reflecting on four years of a rigorous and rewarding program combined with their academic and extracurricular accomplishments at Pace—amazing, challenging, worthwhile, and eye-opening.
The twins, who are passionate about helping others and learning as much as they can about nursing, stepped onto Pace’s Pleasantville Campus in 2012 eager to pursue the careers of which they had always dreamed.
“Pace is close to our home in Rockland County, New York, but far enough away that we could experience college life, and when we looked at various nursing programs, this was the only one that has clinicals starting during sophomore year,” Katie says.
Although the sisters knew they would be embarking on a challenging academic program, they wanted to get involved on the Pleasantville Campus and meet new people through extracurricular activities and organizations.
The sisters jumped into Greek life and joined sororities—Phi Sigma Sigma for Katie and Alpha Lambda Sigma for Kimberly—and they both were a part of Pace’s cheerleading team during their first and second years.
“Being a cheerleader was especially fun in college,” Kimberly says. “It challenges yourself in different ways from high school cheerleading, and it was a great way to get out, meet people, and set yourself on the right path.”
Their path to becoming nurses was something the pair set out upon at a young age. At 14, the Mitts sisters joined their local ambulance’s youth corps within the Nanuet Community Ambulance Corps, earning basic certifications, assisting EMTs and paramedics on emergency calls, and improving patient care skills. The two are still active in the corps and have served several positions over the years including Senior Corps members and Katie as the Lieutenant of Communications from May 2015 to May 2016.
“We joined our local ambulance core because we knew we wanted to do medicine,” Katie says. “I think that opened our eyes and showed us what the nurses actually do, and we enjoyed learning that and being able to work with them.”
Currently in their final semester of the nursing program, the duo says they are so grateful for the education they have received through lessons, clinicals, innovative learning experiences in the classroom, and much more.
“In the nursing program, it has been a great honor to make it as far as we have,” Kim says. “We have seen our class go from 150 students to 60 because it is so challenging.”
In the nursing program, Katie and Kimberly have access to cutting-edge technology in the Clinical Education Labs that allow students to partake in simulations, which expose them to a range of scenarios so they know exactly what to do when faced with these situations in real life. The labs enable students to practice skills on human patient simulators, familiarize themselves with electronic medical records, and prepare medications using computerized systems.
“The simulation equipment we use is the most amazing I have ever seen,” Kimberly says.
She says the nursing students listen to the patients’ lungs and differentiate the sounds they hear, they learn how to give injections, and they have to pass validations while talking to the patients, among many other experiences.
“It was a lot of fun, and the human patient simulators are great because they can adapt in any way,” Kimberly says. “I walk in one week and one is pregnant and you have to deal with that scenario. Just seeing those simulations gets you comfortable being in a hospital setting.”
The Mittses say one of their greatest takeaways over the past few years has been understanding and developing better time management skills, spending 12 hour days studying in the library, listening to previous lectures, reviewing hundreds of flashcards, and teaching themselves what they need to do to in order to become better nurses.
“Before, I would procrastinate, but this program and this University has taught me how to properly time manage and how to balance everything including your social life,” Katie says. “Being able to say that we made it through the nursing program, balanced everything, and were not so engrossed in our work that we didn’t lose out on life is a great accomplishment.”
Having each other to lean on was especially important for the sisters, as they relied on each other and pushed one another to work their hardest. They also credit their success to help from their professors, who were always willing to answer any questions, and support from their grandparents Shirley and Joe, their father Tim and mother Tammy, and their boyfriends Matt and Erich who kept the sisters going when it was the toughest.
Although Katie and Kimberly do not plan on working together after they graduate—Katie wants to work in the suburbs and Kimberly wants to get a taste of city life—the two know they always have a special bond and can rely on each other with any questions or concerns they encounter.
“I’m going to miss Pace—and it will be different once we graduate—but I feel comfortable saying that once I leave, I can say the University has done me well,” Katie says. “I am proud I can add to that number of graduates who are successful from Pace.”
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