York College Nursing major’s mantra: Stop, breathe, and be kind
While most days are just a regular day at work for Sarah Galantini, for the people she’s surrounded by, it’s a bad day–maybe the worst of their lives. She reminds herself of that as she goes about her work as a nursing assistant in the emergency room at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
In the ER, you never know what’s going to come through the door: car accident, heart attack, gunshot wound, mental health crisis. The environment is intense, and the pace is lightning fast. It’s easy to get swept up in it all.
Faster, faster, go, go, go, the pace urges, but Sarah resists. “It’s important to stop, be kind, be there,” she says. Treat everybody with kindness—that’s the mantra Sarah lives by.
Even in the height of a busy shift, when everything around her seems chaotic, she forces herself to stop, to be present, and to be kind to her patients. “A small thing can go a long way, especially in an emergency,” she says.
Sarah is not the type of person to blend into the background. When she walks into a room, you know it. “I just like to talk to everybody,” she says. “I’m not quiet.”
It’s that big personality and intentional kindness that have led her to success in the Nursing program and beyond at York College of Pennsylvania.
A steady support system
This May, Sarah and her 58 Nursing major classmates will don caps and gowns to celebrate their hard-earned degrees at York College. For a group that has grown close and relied on each other since their first year, it’s a bittersweet occasion. “We’ve already started talking about it,” Sarah says. “Look how far we’ve come in just three-and-a-half years.”
It was the small program that initially drew Sarah to York College. It didn’t disappoint. Her professors were always there to answer questions and give extra help. Sarah and her classmates supported each other, too. “When you’re learning so much in four years and have to perfect those skills, you need people there to support you,” she says. “I think that’s something that makes York’s nursing program so unique.”
Working in the ER has made Sarah appreciate that support even more. Many of the patients she sees don’t have the kind of support she’s had. “It really puts life into perspective,” she says. “It’s a humbling thing, and it makes me feel lucky to have the opportunities that I have because not everybody has that.”
Sarah doesn’t let any opportunities pass her by. She’s the Executive Board President for her class and has been a member of York College’s Student Senate for several years. One of the coolest opportunities she’s seized on campus, she says, is becoming a member of the YCP Road Crew.
Last winter break, Sarah and 12 of her peers crammed into vans and traveled up and down the east coast meeting York College alumni. They went to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, and even got on The Today Show, freezing in the cold, but holding signs professing their love for York College. “Who would have thought I’d get to do that?” she says.
It was an experience she won’t soon forget, and she’s excited to make more memories over winter 2020 break meeting more alumni. “I love to talk to people. I love hearing about their experiences,” she says. “Even if they’re not in the healthcare field, I think it’s really cool to hear 10-20 years later how York College has shaped them.”
Beyond the ER
After graduation, Sarah plans to become a full-time nurse in the ER at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Her long-term plans are bigger, though. She hopes to go back to school and earn a master’s degree so she can run her own nursing school program—combining her dedication to caring for others with a passion for teaching.
Whatever comes her way, she’ll seize the moment. “You never know who you’re going to meet,” she says, “you never know what opportunities can come your way, but you’re going to have a fun time doing it.”