Meet Current Students

Stephanie Brummett

young woman smiling at cameraWhy did you decide to attend Duquesne University School of Nursing?

As someone who was seeking a career pivot, once I had made the decision to go back to school, I concerted all of my efforts towards finding a program that would get me into the field as quickly as possible. Duquesne's 12-month program was ideal for that. As an added bonus, the NCLEX pass rate for this particular program is noteworthy. From there, it was an easy choice in deciding to attend Duquesne's accelerated Second Degree BSN program.

What does an average "day in the life" look like for a Second Degree Nursing student?

I am unusual in that I might be the only student who prefers mornings over evenings. I wake up at 4 a.m. every day, review the material to be covered in class that day as well as complete any homework assignments/projects. In between classes, I make it a priority to step away from my desk to stretch, eat and mentally turn off for a few minutes. During my lunch hour (on class days), I'm continuing homework assignments and material review. Then after classes end for the day, I spend an hour taking care of anything I can get done. I always make sure I have a couple of hours to myself every single evening to give myself a break.

On clinical days, I still wake up at 4 a.m. and either attend in-person clinical, which starts at 6:30 a.m., or I begin working on that day's virtual clinical assignment. Once I'm finished with that (typically by 2:30 p.m.), I spend an hour or two reviewing material and taking care of ad hoc assignments.

Downtime is just as important as time spent studying, so I prioritize both equally.

Do you have any tips or insights for new students?

There is a fine line between something being challenging and something being too hard/impossible, and that fine line often comes down to making a mental choice. This program is certainly challenging, but that's the fun of it!

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because that feeling won't stop after you graduate. Find ways to enjoy the learning process and feeling out of your element. We didn't choose this field because it is easy. We chose it because it's challenging and meaningful work.

On a more practical note, I encourage you to nail down organization at the beginning (map out deadlines, exam dates, etc.) and review that often so nothing is a surprise. You will be told this over and over again, but I can't stress it enough: Review your notes within 24 hours of each class. Even if it's just a quick glance, look at the material regularly instead of only before an exam. Seek out HESI and NCLEX practice question resources available to you through your textbooks because a huge part of any nursing program is, frankly, learning how to interpret and answer questions. The material is important but it's equally important to be able to answer HESI- and NCLEX-style questions.

Doing all of the above is how I'm managing to get an A in every class. IT WORKS.

You may contact Stephanie at

Thomas Geraghty

young man smiles at cameraWhy did you choose Duquesne University?

The smaller school environment and Catholic-based principles were big factors for me. I looked at other schools within the region, but Duquesne has the oldest nursing program in the state. It seemed fitting for me to continue with this tradition.

Can you describe your experience as a Second Degree BSN student?

My experience has been good. Regardless of which pathway you choose, whether it is the 12- or 16-month track, it is going to be vigorous as the program is very time consuming. Any issues that have come up regarding an emergency or something else in my life have been met with great facilitation in order for me to accomplish what needs to be done.

What is it like to be a nursing student with a young family?
I have three children. I have three-year-old twins, and my wife and I just had another baby boy in November 2020. It definitely presents its own set of challenges, but it is doable. As most individuals who have children know, you learn to take advantage of the limited free time and utilize these little moments for studying.

Do you have any advice for prospective and incoming Second Degree students?

Stick with it. If this is your goal, then pursue your goal. The time spent on schooling is going to be shorter than you expect and worthwhile in the end.

What are your plans after you finish the program?

I want to try to get a position in either an ICU or emergency department. I am interested in becoming a flight nurse, but my true goal is to earn an advanced practice degree, such as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).