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India Samuels Plans to Advocate for Nursing Needs of Entire Family

India Samuels
“I enjoy collaborating with all the health care providers,” says RN and graduate student India Samuels. “Nursing is a science; nursing is an art.”

In one of her earliest clinical experiences, India Samuels used tweezers to remove body parts from a patient named Cavity Sam. Not the typical patient, Sam had a large red light bulb for a nose which flashed—setting off a buzzer—when Samuels’ tweezers brushed the cavity containing the ailing organ.

Samuels says her childhood love of “Operation,” a legendary board game, foreshadowed her nursing career. An RN and graduate student in Ball State University’s master’s in nursing program, Samuels is now a staff nurse in the intensive care unit of Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

Although she’s worked stints in adult rehabilitation and surgical services, Samuels’ first love is ICU.

“I am an adrenaline junkie and a multi-tasker,” she says. So on a given day, she may be advocating for patients in ICU who can’t communicate, explaining treatments to patients, and providing information to their families.

“I enjoy collaborating with all the health care providers,” says Samuels. “We are a team and we’re helping the patient conquer the challenge he or she is dealing with.”

Samuels has found fulfillment working with veterans at the VA and even imagines a day when she could open a community center and provide a holistic approach to the many needs of today’s veterans.

She also envisions a program which would address teen-age pregnancies. “Children having children is a problem,” says Samuels. “I would like to be a willing ear who will listen to their story, to show them resources, and help them plug into their support system.”

With so many goals related to health care, Samuels began looking for a master’s degree in nursing a few years ago.

“First of all, I knew that Ball State had an excellent reputation among my fellow nurses,” says Samuels. Because she was a full-time nurse, a wife, the mother of an elementary-age student, and involved in a number of community service projects, the online mode of learning made perfect sense.

She also knew that Ball State’s online master’s degree in nursing was a national leader in nursing and, according to U.S. News & World Report, the 11th largest in the country.

“There are so many overnight schools—which is what I call them—that are not accredited,” says Samuels, noting that Ball State is accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE).

While the MS in nursing offers three tracks—adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and a leadership track—Samuels chose the family nurse practitioner track because she wanted to study all populations—from children to the elderly.

Samuels had never taken an online course until she started the graduate program so she appreciated the NUR 605 Nursing Information Technology course, designed to teach students how to accomplish individual tasks as they navigate through their online courses.

“You just need to know that it’s going to take dedication, motivation, and discipline,” she says.

Since starting the program in 2009, Samuels’ dedication and discipline has helped her survive the birth of a boy in the middle of her NUR 634 Advanced Health Assessment class and endless hours in ob-gyn, internal medicine, geriatrics, and renal clinicals.

But it was all inspired by an operation on Cavity Sam.