Attending the Health Sciences Academy at Bayside High School generated enthusiasm for nursing in Asia Owens. Even with the perception that nursing careers were limited to hospital settings, Owens was eager to pursue the field in college. While at VCU and during her clinical rotations, Owens discovered the versatility within the nursing field and found her calling to work in the psychiatric mental health clinical setting.
Owens attended the VCU Acceleration program her freshman year and found that it helped provide a head start not only with academics, but also challenges such as balancing academics, social life, and extracurricular activities. This foundation proved useful as Owens transitioned to the VCU School of Nursing to complete her BSN. Owens learned to manage her time by giving top priority to her academic goals, graduating from VCU Magna Cum Laude while also balancing requirements of the Honors College and minoring in Psychology.
“What really surprised me was the amount of sacrifices I had to make while I was in the School of Nursing,” recalled Owens. “Although I was a hard worker prior to being a VCU Nursing Student, I developed true work ethic and enhanced self-discipline once I became a nursing student.”
While Owens was growing as a student, she also found the evolving and expanding nature of healthcare and the different paths of professional and education opportunities within nursing incredibly appealing. During her clinical rotation at Tucker Pavilion, a local psychiatric hospital with a full range of behavioral health services, Owens envisioned the path she ultimately wanted to follow.
“Mental health patients can be so vulnerable at times due to their mental condition, physical comorbidities, and financial difficulties,” explained Owens, “we are helping them through their struggle. Mental health nurses practice the true integration of nursing because we care for our patients holistically - we care for the mind, body, and soul. I love building therapeutic relationships with my patients.”
Currently working full-time as an RN on the Behavioral Health Unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Owens provides care to their patient population. In her future, Owens looks forward to earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice, and specializing in Psychiatric Mental Health working as a Nurse Practitioner on a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT). Not missing a beat, Owens also sees herself owning her own practice.
“When considering a career in the healthcare field it truly takes a passion for it. When you have a passion for it you will overcome the hardships, the challenges, and learn from the mistakes that you make along your journey,” advises Owens. “It is not easy, but every step is worth it because not only will it make you a stronger individual, but you will also have the insight to teach and show others the way who also to wish to pursue a career in the healthcare field.”