About Allison Drake
Allison Drake, a member of the adjunct faculty in Russell Sage College’s Nurse Practitioner master’s program, has a deep sense of admiration for Sage nursing students. They’ve gone into battle together.
Earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic reached upstate New York, Allison was working in internal medicine for St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany when she was deployed to assist in leading a fever/COVID clinic for the organization.
She contacted Sage and offered the frightening but extraordinary opportunity for students to earn their necessary clinical hours in the field. “The students needed clinical hours. We needed assistance!”
Over a 10-week period, 17 students rotated through this site.
“They got real life, feet-to-the-fire experience,” Allison says. “And I was completely impressed with each and every student’s commitment to the profession and willingness to help in whatever fashion was needed. We were a precision team.”
“Sage students to me are just top notch,” Allison adds. “They were willing to work extra hours. They would say to me: If you ever need me, Allison, I’ll be here. And this was even following the completion of their required hours.”
The way Allison sums it all up is: “This was a once in a lifetime experience I hope we never have to revisit.”
Today, Allison is chair of Advanced Practices at St. Peter’s.
She got started down this path when she was 16, working as a home health aide. Then she got her CNA then LPN, and RN. While working full time, she obtained her first master’s degree in Nursing Administration, and then her nurse practitioner’s master’s at Sage several years later.
“I had great instructors,” she recalls. “Good clinical teachers. People who had the hands-on experience. That’s critical to preparing the next generation of nurses.”
She’s been at St. Peter’s for 17 years now.
“I make sure my students get an exceptional clinical experience,” she says. “This is not text book fluff. They need to get the real hands on work. My students aren’t just shadowing, they’re reading x-rays, looking at the lab work, making the clinical decisions they’ll need to make. They’re being put to the test. Because it is the clinical experience that will make or break you.”
Allison believes Sage would expect no less of her. It’s the way the program operates – make our nurses as good as they can be.
“Sage is really invested in its students,” Allison says. “They’re always trying to find the best experience for you.”
And sometimes that experience includes putting it all on the line.
“I make sure my students get an exceptional clinical experience. This is not text book fluff. They need to get the real hands on work.”