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Brianna Darrah


Accelerating into a nursing career

Brianna Darrah majored in exercise science at a state university and enjoyed her work in an outpatient health clinic—at least usually. Something about it didn’t quite fit with the kind of care she wanted to provide for her patients. She felt limited in what she could do for them during their brief visits.

“I felt like I was treating a singular condition rather than the whole person,” she said. The Elkins Park, Pennsylvania resident knew she wanted to work in health care, and she wondered if becoming a nurse in an inpatient setting would give her more time to observe patients and consider a broader array of factors that could affect their health.

When she researched nursing programs, Brianna saw that Immaculata was starting an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for students like her who had a bachelor’s degree in another field. She knew IU had a good reputation, and she liked the program’s emphasis on holistic nursing—caring for patients’ minds, bodies and spirits.

The accelerated pace of the program—just 15 months—also appealed to Brianna. “I wanted to get my degree done in a short amount of time but didn’t want to sacrifice my ability to be a good nurse, and I was able to do both at IU,” she remarked.

“The teachers are very approachable, so it’s easy to talk to them,” Brianna commented. She also appreciated the strong sense of community with her classmates, who support each other as they manage the demanding coursework together. “In a smaller school, you get to know everyone,” she said.

Brianna is completing clinical rotations in various settings, ranging from simulation experiences to a psychiatric rotation at Brandywine Hospital. “Not all schools do a psych rotation,” Brianna noted, “but I’m glad IU does, because you’re going to see psychiatric conditions everywhere.”

Brianna enjoys exploring different clinical specialties within nursing. She likes working with older adults, so she is leaning toward a focus on geriatric care. Wherever she ends up working, she will keep in mind the advice from the professor who taught her Fundamentals of Holistic Nursing Practice class: “Dr. Barnes encourages us to think about the patients as our own family,” Brianna recalled. How would you treat them if they were your relatives?

As they were growing up, Brianna’s younger brother spent some time in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “That’s one of the reasons I pursued this career path,” she said. At CHOP, “they always made him feel like he mattered.”

Eager to provide the same compassionate care she saw from the nurses at CHOP, Brianna completed her B.S.N. this spring. “It’s an amazing program. I’m so happy I’ve had this opportunity.”

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