Balancing nursing with tennis and her other love, music, has been a challenge, but one that has blessed Electra Cochran.
“When I started my focus was only nursing,” she says. “And that semester was so hard. It took a toll on me because I was just so focused on one aspect of my life.” She determined to incorporate the hobbies she loves most: tennis and music. A violinist, she joined the university orchestra. “That semester was so much better,” she recalls. She had fun, felt healthy, and completed her schoolwork.
Since then she helped the BYU Tennis Club qualify for nationals as co-captain of the team. She has found there are skills that transfer from nursing to tennis.
“Tennis is such a mental sport. Being able to keep calm in stressful situations and think through strategy…go hand-in-hand with things we’ve been working on in nursing.”
One memorable experience was with an older patient who was “a little rough around the edges”. However, they quickly bonded over one common love—the accordion.
“She mentioned that when she was growing up her dad taught her to play,” Cochran explains. “And I also play the accordion.” The connection sparked an idea. Cochran asked the woman if she would play if Cochran brought her accordion the next week. The woman agreed. The next week she played the instrument she had not touched in 45 years.
“She [has] dementia, but when she started playing the accordion, a lot of emotions, and things came back to her,” Cochran remembers. “When I said ‘bye’ to her that was the first time a patient had ever told me ‘I love you.’ And that was a moment I’ll never forget.”