Student Spotlight: Sarah Helton
Hi, my name is Sarah Helton, and I am senior Health Science Major on the Pre-Public Health track here at the University of Florida. After I graduate, I hope to attend an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program then become a trauma/ ER nurse. My long-term goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner specializing in critical care.
When I was 9 my mom had her first heart attack. When I was 11 my dad had his first heart attack, and again when I was 15 my dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Growing up I spent time in hospitals and doctors’ appointments with my parents listening and watching. Seeing my parents poked, prodded, and hooked up to all these strange machines always made me curious for more details. Once the doctors left, the nurse would come in and explain what the doctors were doing in a way I was able to better understand. The nurses took care of my parents in a way that was compassionate. I realized there was an impact a nurse could make on the patient and family that went beyond the practical nursing skills. Most children hated going to the hospital because it was a scary place where as I enjoyed that environment. In some of the most frightening moments of my life, when the possibility of losing my parents was very real, the nurses were calm, self-assured, and genuine. These experiences have had a strong effect on me and my decision to go into health care.
But why nursing and public health? One of the things I love most about public health is it encompasses all aspects of the medical field. Once, I realized that I wanted to be in a clinical setting, nursing was the obvious choice. Both nursing and public health emphasize the people side of medicine, which enables me to combine the technical skills with my people skills to potentially effect positive change in someone’s life. Also public health equips me to better deal with the diverse populations that I will encounter as a nurse. The global perspective of health that public health emphasizes will enhance my career as a nurse.
When I am not studying you can find me giving campus tours as a Florida Cicerone. As a Cicerone, I have the privilege of serving as a link between past, present, and future gators by being an official student ambassador of the University of Florida. I give campus tours to potential UF students as well as work with the UF Alumni Association. As a high school student I was shy and did not like to speak in front of a crowd. Through the Florida Cicerones I realized how much I have come to enjoy connecting with people and sharing my love of the University of Florida.
Some of my other involvement on campus includes serving as Vice-President of the Undergraduate Public Health Association, being a Panhellenic Councilor for UF’s Panhellenic Greek Council, and Director of Merchandise for the Florida Cicerones. In my free time when I’m not studying you can catch me binging Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, reading a good book, or taking my two dogs on long walks!
My biggest supporters in my college journey have been my family. My mom and dad are my biggest cheerleaders. They have been an enormous source of support and guidance for me when I was trying to decide what to major in. My Aunt, who is a UF alumna, has also been another source of unwavering support in my college journey. I cannot thank my family enough, because without them my college experience would have been vastly different.