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A nursing student-athlete interview with…Madison Puleo

Junior * Valencia, California

Cheerleading * Flyer

Madison Puleo
"Every time I step on the mat, I see the opportunity for me to improve and that pushes me to work harder both in cheerleading and in the classroom." - Madison Puleo, junior
Madison Puleo balances on the hands of her fellow cheerleaders.

Q.    What do you love about your sport?  

A.    Cheerleading has helped me push myself to be a better person and a better athlete while at the same time forming lasting relationships with my teammates and coaches. Every time I step on the mat, I see the opportunity for me to improve and that pushes me to work harder both in cheerleading and in the classroom.

Q.    What would surprise people about your sport or how you execute?   

A.    There is more to cheerleading than just standing on the sideline at games. It takes a lot of practice, dedication, and hard work to learn new stunts and execute them and have a strong game presence.

Q.    What are you most proud of in terms of personal or team accomplishments?

A.    It makes me proud to know that I am on a team where everyone holds themselves to similar standards. We don’t let practices or games become an excuse for classwork. I know I am on a team where everyone is encouraging me to do my best both on the mat and in the classroom and I am doing the same for them.

Nursing students and faculty gather around SimMan.
Madison Puleo, front left, and fellow nursing students along with Assistant Professor Dr. Michelle Kelly, volunteered to be part of the Villanova University commercial that airs during the 2018-19 men's basketball season. Next to Madison are cheerleaders Kelsey Glancy (middle) and Gina D'Antonio, and (right middle) Annie Alvarado. Also volunteering were AC Clinton and Claire Moran.

Q.    How would you describe the time commitment?

A.    We practice three times a week for three hours and we lift twice a week. Along with this, we typically have at least one other cheer event during the week. This can be games, appearances, or school events. During basketball season, the game schedule picks up because of an increased number of games. During this time, we are also getting ready for our annual competition in Orlando, Fla., UCA College Nationals, which requires extra practices throughout the week.

Q. What characteristics does someone needs to be a successful nursing student-athlete?

A. I would say time management is the biggest one. It is doable to be in the nursing college and be on the cheerleading team, but you have to plan ahead and make it work. Cheerleading has helped me become better at managing my time because I have to set time aside for practices and games while still getting my classwork done on time.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as a nursing student-athlete?  

A.    I would say my biggest challenge is knowing when to slow down. Some days it can be hard to be around people from 6AM for clinical until 10PM at night after practice. Take time for yourself when you need it. It can be hard to find alone time in college but sometimes just five minutes can make all the difference.

Q.    Where do you find your inspiration as either an athlete or nursing student?  

A.    I find joy in helping others and forming lasting relationships while doing so. Patients and family members can be in very stressful situations and the role of the nurse is to help the patient in any way he/she can. I find my inspiration for being a nurse in helping those in need. It has always been an important part of my life and I can’t see myself pursuing a career without that aspect.

Q.    What do you want to do with your nursing career?  

A.     From my experience volunteering at my local hospital I have loved helping in the NICU. The nurses I met placed high importance on holistic nursing because not only are you caring for your patient, but you are also caring for parents in an extremely vulnerable and scary time. Being able to provide many different aspects of care is one of my favorite things about nursing. It isn’t just fixing their main problem; it’s looking at who the patient is and what might be lying under the surface.

Q.    What advice would you give an incoming nursing student-athlete?  

A.    Use your resources and don’t wait too long to start using them. The nursing college provides so many resources to students which are super helpful! Athletics also provides a lot of academic support. There are so many resources and so many people willing to help. One of the resources I have found most helpful has been review sessions. These are great opportunities to gain experience with NCLEX style questions while also preparing for upcoming exams.  

Q. Anything else you want to share?  

A.    Don’t let nursing keep you from getting involved. Nursing is demanding but if you plan accordingly there is time to find other things to do. One of the main things I remember from my first day in the nursing college was to get involved outside of nursing. Nursing is great but it’s also important to know that talking about the things you saw at clinical aren’t always the best dinner stories.