Student-Athlete and Nursing Student Interview


Courtesy of Maddie Schieder

Volleyball player and nursing student Kathleen Johnson talked to the Villanovan.

Maddie Schieder, Staff Writer

The University’s nursing program is ranked 48th nationally and third in the state of Pennsylvania. The rigorous program Villanova offers has a 98.8 percent success rate of  undergraduate placement, giving the school its spot in the top four percent of undergraduate nursing programs in the country. 


Due to the intensity of the program, nursing majors undertake serious devotion and time commitment, something junior nursing student Kathleen Johnson can attest to. Johnson is not only a nursing student, but also a volleyball player, making her life one of serious time constraints. Johnson sat down with The Villanovan to talk about her day-to-day life as both a nurse and student athlete.


The Villanovan: What is a typical day in your life at clinical?


Kathleen Johnson: I usually have a plan to get ready for my day ahead by laying out my scrubs and stethoscope and badge packed away to aid in my early wake up time. Nursing school has taught me to always think ahead, so I always set up my necessities, including breakfast, as well. I drive over to Bryn Mawr Hospital, where my badge allows me in the garage to park and all of us meet in the lobby at 6:45 a.m. Typically, we learn where we will be helping out that day from our instructor, and two students are paired with one nurse. The nurses typically have four patients, so as students we are in charge of taking vital signs, putting their information in the system, giving patients their medicine and more. Last semester, I was placed on the orthopedic floor and the oncology floor, allowing me to experience various kinds of patients and treatments. At the end of each week, we have a weekly assignment of a patient and have to include details about them and their medical history during that week. We are always encouraged to gain as much experience as we can, so if time allows we will go watch the nurses giving treatment live in action. 


TV: What is the most difficult part about being a nursing major?


KJ: There is definitely a high expectation to do well not only for the students but for the professors as well. Throughout my junior year, the program has certainly amped up compared to my freshman year. Professors are giving us tests that are long and difficult, and sometimes it can be discouraging if you do not perform well, but all of the professors are rooting for you. I have learned that nursing is more than just classes and more than tests, it is preparation to take care of real people, so there is a pressure to perform well. Success is on you and the time you put into it, and everyone wants you to succeed. For me, I take assignments very seriously because I want to be a good nurse and a respected one. I cannot always do what everyone else is doing. I often have to put my studies first rather than focusing on my social life when I have free time. A choice I have made for my own success is to prioritize my sleep and my time to study because that is how I know I will best succeed. Although it can be difficult, it is something I am very passionate about and have put first while being at Villanova and learned to put in work rather than skimming notes or reading over my textbook. Nursing is not a major that you can just get by in, you put in what you are going to get out of it to become successful. I used to think textbooks weren’t going to help me and I never put the time in, yet this program has taught me to value my studies. My social life might be compromised, but it is a choice I have made because I want to do well. 


TV: How is it being both a nursing student and a student-athlete?


KJ: The hardest thing for me would be that, although I know that our coaches understand that school comes first, it can be mentally exhausting to show up each day and do what I do. Both sides do not have room for excuses. For instance, I have been suffering from a back injury for a year now, and no matter how much pain I might be in at clinical, I still have to show up and learn because my studies and progress could be affected. Additionally, I could have come back from a game late the night before, yet I still have to come to clinical the next morning and put in the work no matter the circumstances. The same goes for volleyball, it does not matter if I have back to back classes and am rushed to eat lunch because I still show up every day to practice because it is my choice to pursue what I do. With my injury I also don’t always have time to get treatment with my trainer because classes start in the morning and end before practice time. Nursing and sports are definitely not a match made in heaven and it is hard to manage, so I am very proud I am learning to navigate both priorities. With clinicals I miss a whole day of practice, so I have to schedule my lift and practice times around it to make up for what I have missed. Last year I would have to come in and practice by myself because I had to miss practice times for lab. Although it is demanding, again it is a choice I have made and something not a lot of people can say they have done, which will allow me to have a successful future.