Sarina Battacharya, an incoming freshman nursing major at the University of Miami and an aspiring pediatric nurse, has spent over 14 years training child gymnasts at her local gym in Coppell, Texas.
“Gymnastics has been going on pretty much my entire life, and it’s what got me passionate about kids,” she said.
In June, Bhattacharya graduated from Coppell High School. As a high school student, she directed youth recreational gymnastics and summer camp programs, working closely with fellow gymnasts to help them build up their skill sets for competitions and tournaments. Battacharya focused her training on floor routines, a type of gymnastics where participants perform activities such as cartwheels, rolls and balances before being scored by a team of judges on their performance.
“I loved getting to transfer my passion and knowledge of gymnastics to little kids who really look up to gymnasts and especially people in the Olympics,” Battacharya said.
“It’s more meaningful going there and really teaching the kids instead of just doing it as a job.”
Battacharya started her gymnastics career at the age of four, working with youth trainers in order to perfect her craft. She said that she hopes to leverage the passion she has for working with kids as a pediatric nurse.
“Hospitals aren’t fun at all for kids, but that’s where I really want to impact people on a deeper level.”
Early in her gymnastics career, Battacharya’s twin sister was admitted to the hospital after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament, a knee injury often suffered by athletes competing in sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction. Battacharya said that her sister’s treatment gave her an inside look at how nurses can change people’s lives for the better.
“In the hospital, my sister’s experience with her nurse after getting the surgery was amazing,” she said.
“The nurse would stay up in the middle of the night to make her as comfortable as possible and just be there to talk to my sister.”
After her sister’s injury, Bhattacharya said, she felt the urge to provide the same comfort and care to other patients.
“From then on, I really wanted to be the nurse who was there for someone through the whole night, always caring for them,” she continued.
As she nears her first semester in UM’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, Battacharya said she is most excited to gain the mix of classroom knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to fully prepare her for a career in nursing.
“I want the general knowledge and experience to see what nursing is all about but also understand what nurses do on a daily basis, and I’m sure I can get that at UM.”
Battacharya said she is specifically looking forward to immersing herself in the university’s Simulation Hospital. In the mock-hospital setting, dummy patients provide nursing students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their work without the pressure of caring for live patients. Nursing students are taught procedures such as CPR and child delivery under the supervision of a more experienced mentor.
“You get a real hospital experience without the patients being there, which I think is great when you’re learning. It definitely takes the stress off of having another life in your hands.”
The Simulation Hospital is made up of five floors containing different suites depending on the type of care being administered. These include designated areas for operations, surgery, intensive care, child delivery and outpatient care, among others.
“You get a real hospital experience without the patients being there, which I think is great when you’re learning. It definitely takes the stress off of having another life in your hands,” Battacharya said.
“For me, going into a simulated ICU and working with everyone else to do the procedures will really help me get a feel of how everything works,” she continued.
For nursing students, freshman and sophomore terms revolve around preclinical classes, where students learn about their fields in a lecture-based curriculum. As juniors, students begin clinical trials, which prepares them for their rotation at hospitals.
“It’ll be great to slowly transition into working alongside other nurses and doctors after being in the classroom,” she said.
“I enjoy the classroom but at the end of the day I’m most excited about applying it to real-world settings.”