By Catie Etka
With a vivid plan for her future and more than 200 hours of observing nurses in the clinical setting, Gabby Miller was the perfect candidate for nursing school. The only problem was she didn’t know where she was going to pursue that goal.
Gabby, now a fifth semester Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing, recalls visiting several universities during her senior year of high school and becoming frustrated because none of them felt right. Amidst her frustration, her dad recommended UAB, so she agreed to visit.
“My outlook changed once I set foot onto UAB’s campus,” said Gabby. “I immediately fell in love with UAB. It just felt like home.”
She said that within the first 10 minutes of the tour she knew this was where she wanted to be. When she learned about UAB’s renowned nursing program, she was sure this was where she belonged.
Gabby first developed an interest in nursing when she had an opportunity to job shadow at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia, during middle school. Gabby said her mother set up a day of shadowing to see if she would like it, and the rest was history.
“I enjoyed the hospital dynamic,” Gabby said. “It’s so busy, and I loved seeing the providers collaborate to get the job done. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Gabby continued to shadow during her summers throughout middle and high school. She had the chance to meet many health-care professionals and grasped an understanding of the profession during “lunch and learns” where various leaders in the field would share their stories with their younger peers interested in the profession.
“I knew I wanted to be of service to others and thought nursing was a great way to translate my passion into a career,” said Gabby.
Gabby is now a quintessential UAB student, and said she can’t imagine herself anywhere else but UAB. She is a member of The TrailBlazers, UAB's official student recruitment team, previously served on the Leadership and Service Council, is a part of the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The aspect of the UAB Nursing curriculum that stood out to Gabby was the intensive clinical experience, she said. Each semester UAB School of Nursing students take part in a different clinical that corresponds with what they are learning in the classroom.
“Once we graduate, we will have an array of experiences that can prepare us for any situation,” she said. “This will put us at a distinct advantage when we begin working.”
Gabby is currently doing her clinical rotation as a floater in the Women and Infants Center at UAB Hospital, which means she isn’t assigned to a particular department but will fill in where needed. She said she is intrigued by many areas of women’s health so she is excited to be able to see many areas of focus as a floater.
Gabby is set to graduate in April 2016. In the future she plans to get her Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) in women’s health or pediatrics. She also is interested in pursuing public health and teaching kids in elementary school about health promotion.
“I’m not sure which path I’ll take,” she said, “but I’m confident that my schooling at UAB has prepared me for whatever is next.”