Helping others has always been a priority for Jessica Tankersley. That is why she spent many hours tutoring other students while completing the Pacesetter Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston.
Tankersley was working toward her biochemistry degree at the University of Houston when COVID-19 pandemic hit and sent the world home. She wanted to help people in need, and she accepted a job as a scribe in the emergency department of a local hospital. That experienced changed her career path.
“I met some nurses there and they were awesome. I just fell in love with it,” said Tankersley. “My friend was a student at Cizik School of Nursing, and she encouraged me to apply. I am glad I did.”
Once she started the nursing program, she needed help and turned to the tutoring service that the school offers for BSN classes. Then, she decided to become a tutor and help other students.
Cizik School of Nursing offers free virtual tutoring sessions, which occur mostly before exams, and open lab tutoring sessions where students can practice their skills in the Simulation and Clinical Performance Laboratory.
“The school does a really good job of allowing students to reach out to upperclassmen,” said Tankersley. “It is really nice to share our experiences and resources because students need that peer support.”
Tutoring sessions are in high demand among students in the accelerated Pacesetter BSN program, especially in their first semester. In her last tutoring session before graduation in May, more than a hundred students participated, said Tankersley.
“I know Jessica from my very first semester. I needed to get extra practice, so I signed up for an open lab tutoring session,” said Truong Dang, a Pacesetter BSN student. “We were practicing getting blood pressure and she was really energetic and welcoming. She was offering a lot of help.”
Similar to Dang, Meghan McWain, a Pacesetter BSN student, also benefitted from Tankersley’s tutoring sessions.
“We were meeting with Jessica at least once a week. She tutored us before our exams, and that was very beneficial,” said McWain. “Students are usually a lot better at talking on a peer level, and tutors usually have more time to explain things a little bit more in detail.”
Truong and McWain are also tutors and enjoy sharing their experiences with other students. Following in Tankersley’s footsteps, they want to continue tutoring until they graduate.
Tankersley has been working as a patient care technician at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands, where she plans to begin working as an RN in the emergency department in July.
In the future, Tankersley, McWain, and Dang want to come back to school to get their Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.
If you would like to sign up for tutoring sessions or become a tutor for a class, contact Assistant Professor Linda Brown, PhD, Director of Academic Success Center and BSN academic success coach.