Padmasree Soundarraj completed her BSN through the Mennonite College of Nursing’s (MCN) Accelerated program in 2013. Read about her journey to MCN and beyond, starting all the way in India, in the interview below.
“You have to be strong, stubborn, passionate, and caring to be a nurse.”
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in India. I got an undergraduate degree in microbiology. After my graduation, I got married. When my husband got the opportunity to work for State Farm through a consultancy company, I moved to Bloomington, Illinois with my husband and our 5-month-old son.
What led you to a career in nursing?
After both my children started going to school, I was looking to start my career. Since I was not able to find a suitable job with my undergraduate degree that I obtained in India, I went to Heartland Community College and got certified as a CNA. Working as a CNA, I knew I had found my calling. Even though I loved taking care of patients for their basic needs, it was a physically demanding job. I applied for the BSN nursing program at ISU. When my undergraduate degree from India got transferred after a wait of almost 3 years, I got admitted to the Accelerated BSN program. I completed the BSN program in 2013 while working part-time as a CNA.
What was your experience like at MCN?
I consider myself very blessed to get my BSN at Mennonite. The Accelerated BSN program was a very planned, fast-paced, and focused program that instilled in me the confidence to provide the best care for every patient. The most unforgettable experience would be the public health clinical project for which we were able to conduct a fair at Normal Community High School bringing in local resources for the students. We had fun interviewing the students for our assignments.
Tell us about your current job.
I got my MSN degree from the University of Texas, Arlington in 2019. Currently, I’m working as a nurse practitioner with two doctors, visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Dallas area.
What’s your advice for future nurses?
You have to be strong, stubborn, passionate, and caring to be a nurse. You are an advocate for your patients when they are at their most vulnerable state. It is a very demanding job, but at the end of the day when the patient says, “You are the best and thanks for everything,” or just holds your hands when they are scared, it will make you feel like you are on cloud nine.