Athletics and Campus Involvement Prepare Suico for Nursing Career

Arkansas Tech University alumna, Vandella Suico, works as an ER nurse in a Level 2 Trauma Center at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center in Texas.

“Nursing is a profession that I’ve learned so much in and continue to every day,” said Suico. “You learn how to deal with the physical and emotional stress that comes with it as well as how to better take care of your patient because sometimes it could, quite literally, mean life or death.”

Chosen as one of the 19 alumni selected for Tech’s 19 in 9, Suico was honored for her great increase in responsibility in her profession and her leadership, creativity and contributions.

Vandella Suico

Suico, a 2017 graduate of ATU, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a minor in Psychology. As of January 2021, Suico has been a nurse for three years. She still remembers sitting in Dr. Escobar’s office and telling her how nervous she was to be leaving Arkansas to pursue her dream and become a nurse in Texas. “I felt as if I was leaving my comfort zone,” said Suico. “[Dr. Escobar] told me that it’s not who you know—but what you know—and to always be confident in your nursing skills and ability to adapt and learn.”

As a student, Suico was involved in the university even though she had little time to spare. Her affiliations aside from the Nursing Program were the ATU Women’s Tennis Team, where she played and represented ATU for four years as a student-athlete under Coach Abby Davis, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She also participated in the Student Nursing Association and Greek Life, where she served as a member of Alpha Sigma Tau, the Panhellenic Council and the Homecoming Court. In 2016, Suico was honored with the most prestigious award of being named to Who’s Who.

As a student-athlete, a nursing student and a student involved in many extra-curricular activities, Suico learned time management and how to prioritize, which Suico said, “is a good foundation to be an ER nurse.”

Vandella Suico

Suico feels that now, more than ever, being a nurse is difficult due to COVID-19. “Nothing could have prepared any nurse for a global pandemic, and to be ‘essential’ makes you really reflect on the reasons why you became a nurse,” she said,

While we were all instructed to stay home, isolate, social distance and keep our social circle small, Suico knew she had to step up and continue with her job as a nurse. Putting others’ needs before your own, often risking your own physical health, is just part of the calling to serve in the field. Much different than her days serving on the tennis court.

“I am so proud to be an ATU alumna,” said Suico. “Tech gave me the opportunities to succeed in my profession. When I started nursing, I was nervous to work alongside others who went to bigger universities, but Tech prepared me. It doesn’t matter where you come from, but what you bring to the table. I consider myself a solid nurse and I owe a lot of that to the people I’ve met and experiences I had at Tech.”

-By Megan Bell for the Tech Action, Spring 2021