Student Profile: Nursing student follows in grandma’s footsteps


Christina Noland

Bailey Schmitz, senior nursing major, talks to Student Media about her life after four years of college. Schmitz has acted as President for SNOW (Student Nurses of Washburn) for the past two terms.

For Bailey Schmitz, senior nursing major and president of Student Nurses of Washburn, job shadowing a nurse who was involved with childbirth ignited her longtime passion of caring for others.
When Schmitz was young, she would frequently go to her grandmother for help to feel better.

“Just having that person in your back corner that can help you and be a healing presence to you was huge as a kid,” Schmitz said. “My grandma was a nurse and she was an amazing person and that was a huge inspiration for me.”
While in high school, Schmitz shadowed a nurse and was further drawn into the healthcare field. A second job shadow brought Schmitz experience with an obstetrics nurse, a nurse who primarily oversees childbirth and care for the mother while in labor.
“And then that’s when I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do with my life,’” Schmitz said. “And I have zero regrets about it.”
Even though Washburn University is about a 90 minute car ride from her hometown, Schmitz chose Washburn to further her education in nursing due to its opportunities for clinicals.
Nursing students attending The University of Kansas primarily use The University of Kansas Health System to complete their clinicals. Baker University, another competitor Schmitz had researched, uses Stormont Vail for nursing student clinicals.
“Washburn is not tied with one specific facility,” Schmitz said. “So, I’ve gotten to go to Stormont, I’ve gotten to go to KU-Med, and I’ve gotten to go to St. Francis. That was a huge thing.”
Cost and class size were also a large reason for Schmitz choosing Washburn University’s nursing program. Schmitz was accustomed to a small town with small classrooms and wanted to maintain that going forward. She has developed friendships with over 80 other nursing students since she began taking courses at Washburn.
Nursing school doesn’t come without challenges, personal or otherwise.

“I remember having a conversation in my very first semester of nursing school where professors were like, ‘you have to be prepared to walk into a patient room and be able to care for them and not judge them,’ no matter what the situation was,” Schmitz said. “I would like to think by the time I graduate I’d be able to handle that, but that’s sometimes a lot to take in.”

Schmitz shared the concerns of her classmates.

“One of my classmates was Black and she was like, ‘I am honestly more worried about walking into a room and them saying they don’t want me to be their nurse than I am walking into a room and not knowing them,’” Schmitz said.
Different points of view have continuously challenged Schmitz to grow as a person. She has learned that her own situation is different from everyone else and has become more open to other people’s experiences.
“Not taking things for granted and understanding that everyone comes from a different background, it just changed my entire life in that exact moment,” Schmitz said. “Nursing school has been a huge eye opener on how big the world is and how little I know about everything.”
For the past year, Schmitz has been the president of Student Nurses of Washburn, SNOW. SNOW is an organization that any nursing student can join as long as they are actively enrolled under the umbrella of the School of Nursing.
“It’s a community for nursing students,” said Crystal Stevens, associate professor for the school of nursing and faculty adviser for SNOW. “Younger nursing students can talk to the older nursing students. We have had times where we have a panel and discuss what it’s like to be a nurse right now during a pandemic.”
A dedicated student academically, as well as loyal to students who look up to her for guidance, Schmitz has taken on the task of keeping this student-led organization functioning, even when members dropped after the pandemic began.
“When I think of Bailey, I think of a nurse. She’s just a go-getter,” Stevens said. “Especially in nursing, Bailey’s very flexible. Things change and she can adjust and do that fairly painlessly, compared to maybe others. She’s friendly, she’s always outgoing, she always seems like she wants to be where she’s at. She tries to help others, you know, always going above and beyond.”
In addition to being a full-time nursing student and president of SNOW, Schmitz also works in the obstetrics unit at Stormont Vail. While she has experienced her fair share of emotional ups and downs working with mothers and their newborns, Schmitz believes keeping her career as a registered nurse would be ideal in comparison to earning a doctorate in the future.
“I think there’s a lot more personal connection with being a nurse,” Schmitz said. “You get to be with that patient the entire shift that you’re with them. Doctors are there for 10 minutes, and they leave, and they come back for the delivery and they’re gone again. I just feel like nurses make a bigger impact, and I think that’s where I would like to stay.”
While Schmitz will be working as a labor and delivery nurse at Stormont Vail for the next few years, she also aspires to become a certified midwife. Earning a midwife degree and moving to a facility that focuses on natural childbirth is where Schmitz currently foresees herself staying within the healthcare industry.
Schmitz said that her time in the obstetrics unit at Stormont has been incredible and unique, a road she would not have traveled if she didn’t job shadow during high school.
“It just feels like a different universe than the rest of the hospital when you’re in that kind of place, so I love it, I love it, I love it,” Schmitz said.
For now, Schmitz devotes her free time to her studies. She plans to graduate this spring and pass the National Council Licensure Examination this summer, after which she will be able to practice as a fully-licensed nurse in the obstetrics unit at Stormont Vail.
Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Alyssa Storm