My Journey Through PSU

Interdisciplinary Studies

BS in Health Sciences

Shayla Murphy


CCBY: Clever Cupcakes

I fell in love with Plymouth State University when I came to visit in the summer of my junior year of high school. The campus was absolutely gorgeous, everyone I met was so friendly, and it just felt like home. I knew that I wanted to have a career in the health field from a very young age, however I did not know exactly what until; my grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Dementia when I was just five years old. My grandmother quit her job as a full time nurse and became my grandfather’s 24/7 caregiver. The care, compassion and love that she showed him was absolutely inspiring. From then on I knew what I was meant to do, I am meant to be a nurse. I have such a strong passion for caring and helping people, therefore I was beyond excited to start my journey at PSU in September of 2014 as a nursing major.

However, during the spring of my junior year I felt like I hit a stop sign. My passion and drive had come to a halt, and I felt like I was failing myself. I was ashamed that I was struggling through these rigorous courses, and did not know what to do. I was slowly sinking in quick sand, and then Interdisciplinary Studies reached out there arms to save me. I was thrilled that my 3 years of hard work at PSU would not go to waste, and that I could construct my very own major. Thus started the beginning of my path to get my BS in Health Sciences. Being able to combine my nursing, health, and psychology courses to make a major was something I never imagined was possible.



Health Assessment was myvery first introduction into the world of nursing. We learned how to assess patients, take vital signs, and check for any abnormalities using a physical, psychosocial, cultural and spiritual approach. This course is important to my future as a nurse because it taught me how to perform a comprehensive health assessment on a patient. Introduction to Professional Nursing focused on the issues that are often confronted in professional nursing such as; the history, trends, and policies. Learning about these issues will help me in the future when it comes to delivering basic nursing care to patients. Introduction to Patient-Centered Care was one of my favorite courses due to the fact that we focused on the individualized care of each patient. We focused on patient preferences, values, needs, and respecting the patients’ role in their own care plan. This course is crucial because it helps nursing students understand just how important it is to provide compassionate, safe and effective care. Professional Issues introduces students to the concepts of career development in the nursing field. This course taught me about the issues that are often faced when you are a professional nurse; the stereotypes in nursing, the risk of substance abuse due to stress, and the importance of self-care. Pharmacology and Pathophysiology focused on diseases and their pharmacological treatments. We examined the principles of infection, drug absorption, signs and symptoms of selective systems, and addresses clinical assessment. This course helped me tremendously with my clinical decision making. Clinical Applications of Patient-Centered Care focused on holistic care of patients and therapeutic nursing interventions through the use of various medical technologies. The most exciting thing I learned how to do in clinical was inserting and removing a trachea tube. Being able to get hands on experience and knowledge was incredibly helpful to my development as a nursing student.



Human Anatomy and Physiology II studied the structure and function of the human body. We examined major body systems such as; respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, and reproductive, etc., from the prospective of how anatomical structure is directly related to physiological function. Knowing how different body systems function together to make up the human body will significantly help me throughout my health career.  Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory II directly applied the knowledge that we learned in lecture in a detailed and hands on way. Being able to dissect an eye ball in order to see all the interior structures is much different than simply seeing a picture in our textbook. General Chemistry I focuses on the key principles and theories that form chemistry including; intermolecular force, atomic and molecular structure, chemical reaction, and thermochemistry. Even though I find this course to be challenging, I know that it will help me tremendously in the future to understand different behind the scenes processes for example; the breakdown of drugs and drug therapy. Microbiology for Nurses was an important course because bacteria is essential to overall human health. In one of the labs we swabbed our phone to see how much bacteria there was, and needless to say I was horrified; it opened my eyes to just how much bacteria we are surrounded by. We were introduced to microorganisms with a particular emphasis on how they pertain to a clinical concern, this course will be helpful in the future when trying to determine various infectious diseases. Genetics for Nurses focused on the advances in genetics that have modernized medical approaches to diagnose, management, and treatment of diseases. It is crucial for healthcare providers to understand the role of genetics in human health, including; diagnosis of genetic conditions, newborn screenings, gene therapy, and ethical principles of genetic healthcare. This class taught me a lot about the ethical issues that can come along with genetic diseases and the tough decisions that families have to make in regards to their health and their children’s health. Obesity? The Biology & Sociology of an Epidemic focuses on how our society is growing in size due to over eating and more sedentary lives. We learn about digestion, absorption, how the body reacts to food and exercise, and types of diseases that can result from obesity including; diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, etc. This truly is a growing epidemic that as a health care professional I will be helping patients with on a daily basis. Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living addressed key concepts of nutrition with a specific focus on modern issues such as; heart disease, obesity, and specifically obesity in children. Our diet and exercise is crucial to our overall well-being therefore this course is relevant for those developing a profession in the health care field.


            Mental Health and Society examines current issues and problems in the mental health field. We looked at mental illness and health care delivery through a local and global perspective. We studied the impact of social life on different races, religions, communities, genders, etc. This class heavily focused on the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and trying to end that judgment and stigma. This was one of my favorite classes due to the fact that I want to pursue a career in mental health. Social Psychology studied various social situations and the concepts used in the study of behavior of individuals. One thing that was learned that I found extremely interesting was the concept of subliminal messaging and how every individual can be affected differently based on their personality. This course made me look at behavior and social situations in a different light. Life-Span Developmental Psychology looked at the growth of an individual through their physical growth, cognitive learning, emotional behavior and social developmental skills. This was such a fascinating course because of the way that we looked at psych

ology and development as it progressed throughout someone’s entire lifetime, from birth to death.

I feel that all of these courses have greatly prepared me for my future. When I graduate in May 2018, my plan is to attend an accelerated 16 month RN program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). After I pass the NCLEX exam and officially receive my RN, my goal is to combine all of my knowledge from my BS in Health Sciences, my Psychology minor, and my Nursing degree; in order to make me a strong member of the health care community. My dream job is to work with mentally ill patients either at a psychiatric hospital or a state prison.


Building my own major has been one of the most incredible experiences of my college career. I consider my Health Science major to be interdisciplinary because I have combined my nursing, health science, and psychology courses in order to make myself a versatile member of the health care field. I plan on using all of the knowledge and skills that I have learned here at PSU to make me an exceptional health care professional and to help me further my dream of becoming a psychiatric nurse. I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I was meant to be an interdisciplinary major and I am meant to have a future as a psychiatric nurse.

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One comment

  1. Shayla, awesome photos. Consider how you can add context to your post through captions. I especially love the cupcakes, they bring to mind the old adage, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, and another infamous line, Let them eat cake! Marie Antoinette said this — did she assume everyone had access as she did? As you’ve created your major to fit your needs and fill a need in the health field, ask yourself this: who gets to have their proverbial cake and eat it too? Why? Should it be so? Great post!

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