Jay Cobden '14 - Nursing

When you can persuade your dad to help you convert his golf cart into your kid-sized ambulance, you know your passion for medicine and health care will take you far. That's exactly what Jay Cobden '14 (pictured above, right) did as a youngster, carrying a first-aid kit around with him everywhere he went.

Now, this neighborhood first-responder wannabe from North Kingstown, RI is a Curry nursing major who still gets excited about helping others and giving back to the community.

After considering a physician assistant program, Jay recognized that nursing offered him the most hands-on interaction and the best opportunity to provide one-on-one patient care.

"I looked at bigger nursing schools, but I realized the best option for me was a smaller school where professors know who you are. I also wanted a school with ties to Boston, because the city offers some of the best hospitals and clinical sites in the United States."

The Curry College nursing program popped onto Jay's radar when he discovered its high pass rates for NCLEX-RN (the national licensing examination for registered nurses), the top-notch academic program and faculty, the extensive practical opportunities and the well-known health care agencies where he would apply his education. A campus visit sealed the deal when Jay toured Curry's nursing labs and saw the beautiful area around Milton.

"The campus really feels comfortable, and it's close to Boston. My long-term goal is to become a nurse practitioner, so Curry is my best first step on that path."

He's already participated in a clinical experience at Harbor House, an assisted living and rehabilitation facility in Hingham (MA).

As with most Curry nursing students, Jay's academics and campus activities merge. In his nursing department work-study position, Jay assists faculty and staff with administrative tasks while getting to know his professors outside the classroom. He served as treasurer of the Curry College Student Nursing Association (CCSNA), volunteered at a flu shot clinic in Canton and provided first-aid services at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Boston walk. When he needs a break, Jay joins Curry's intramural flag football or basketball teams. And he makes the short trip to Boston to explore the city, enjoy dinner or a concert or take in Celtics basketball or Bruins hockey games.

Of course, Jay's academic program remains his top priority, and Curry faculty members help bring his courses alive. Favorite nursing classes include Concepts of Nursing and the Clinical Simulation lab taught by Professors Cheryl Cifrino and Michelle McMahon.

"I like the simulated patient interaction we practice in the classroom and then apply with real people at fieldwork sites," says Jay. "Professors Cifrino and McMahon explain the principles with lots of stories and examples. They use humor to make you feel comfortable, and they're extremely helpful in every situation."

Jay also enjoyed his chemistry class with Professor Marie Turner, citing her enthusiasm for the subject and her patience with students.

"From my experience in high school, I didn't think I liked chemistry," says Jay. "But Professor Turner's excitement and encouragement helped me realize it's a subject where I can do well. In fact, I served as a chemistry tutor my freshman year."

English department senior lecturer Brian Duchaney taught two of Jay's favorite writing courses, one of which surprised him by how well he learned to make his point about the assigned subject.

"Professor Duchaney gets everyone involved in class and makes it fun," says Jay. "His examples use humor and movies, not just lectures. And he always emphasizes how to support an argument in writing. A paper I wrote for him was one of the hardest I've ever done, but I recognized how much I learned about looking at the bigger picture, applying that knowledge to other situations and challenging myself to make more connections."

What else has Jay discovered about Curry - and about himself? That it's important to get involved in whatever interests you.

"Enjoy what you find on campus and in the Boston area," says Jay. "The strong academics in the nursing program motivate me to stay at Curry and succeed. It's important to keep an open mind about what's possible for yourself as you take classes, interact with professors and find new experiences. Take advantage of everything, even if you don't quite know how you might use it in the future or what you might learn about yourself. That's what your Curry education is all about."


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