This is the first photo ever taken of my family. This is also one of the moments that helped me to solidify my decision to become a midwife. The care I received from my OB team throughout my pregnancy, during delivery- which ended with a c-section, and even postpartum was phenomenal. This picture was taken in the operating room by my anesthesiologist after they laid my new baby girl on my chest once she and I were stable. This photo captures the happiest, most emotional moment of my life. I am perusing midwifery in hopes of providing the same kind of experience for others.
As I stood outside of the Israeli prison, a place where a common civilian cannot gain entry, I understood that medicine is not confined to boundaries or walls, locks or gates. Doors will always be open because in the end medical professionals value life above all other things. At a young age, I had pictured myself in the back of an ambulance, wearing a first responder uniform. A stethoscope gently resting around my neck as I pulled the bright blue, latex gloves onto my hands. Since I was a child I imagined the moment when I would be able to help someone in need of medical attention. I have always had an empathetic connection for individuals in their suffering. As a child, I remember questioning my pediatricians every move. I became innately aware of my thirst for knowledge and medicine and from that point on there was no fear of blood, or pain, or the environment I would be standing in. It was at this point that my developmental trajectory to study medicine formed. 15 years later, and here I was.
As I looked down to the stethoscope around my neck waiting outside of the prison, I began to worry about our next patient. Although I was surrounded by guards, as well as my fellow first responder volunteers, I felt ashamed as I began to question my safety. As a 17-year-old, American female volunteer I felt out of place, and uncomfortable at the entrance of the Israeli prison. Although I was surrounded by adults who were all fluent in the language of the state, I wondered whether or not I was safe entering a foreign prison. Ignoring my surroundings I jumped out of the ambulance’s rear doors, and proceeded, as I had been taught, to lift and then pull, the bed out of the vehicle. Reaching for the enormous first aid bag, I followed my Israeli driver into the prison. Walking into the facility alongside my driver, my fellow volunteer, and our prison guide I felt my confidence grow. As I observed the interior of the prison, I saw dozens of prisoners in the midst of their daily routine. Aside from the fact that some of the prisoners were wearing matching orange jumpsuits, this diverse group of men did not appear to be any different from the rest of the population.
Following the lead of my ambulance driver, I entered the doctor's office at the far end of the prison. I approached the prisoner and began to take blood pressure and pulse. Glancing at the face of the prisoner, I saw the deep wrinkles above his forehead and the tired look in his eyes. Was this man the prisoner I had previously been afraid to help? As a child, I dreamt of having the opportunity to work as a first responder. Now fulfilling my dream, in a foreign country, I was saddened by the influence that my preceding connotations of prisons had held. Prisoner or patient, the elderly Israeli man in front of me was still just that: an elderly man with a valuable life.
I’m interested in pursuing a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant because I find that helping people with disabilities is extremely rewarding. In my lifetime, I have needed help of others so I do have an understanding of what it’s like to need assistance. From the moment I was born, I have faced many challenges. At birth, I needed open heart surgery to correct a Congenital Heart Defect. The surgery fixed my heart but it also caused me to suffer a stroke. While the stroke didn’t cause me any visible physical problems, it did leave me with me with memory loss that has been an ongoing challenge for me. I have always been dedicated to work hard in school by studying much harder than the average student so I can remember information for quizzes and tests. Despite these challenges, I have managed to maintain a 3.5 grade point average in High School and I am a member of the National Honor Society.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced, has led to some of my greatest successes. At age 7, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder in which your brain causes tics; movements or sounds that you can’t control. When I was in elementary school, things were extremely hard. Kids would laugh and stare as I was ticcing. Even teachers thought I was doing this on purpose and would yell at me to stop. I dreaded going to school, and knew that I had to do something to stop the bullying. I realized they didn’t understand about my Tourettes and it was up to me to change this. I started going to each and every classroom explaining about Tourette Syndrome and why I was making these sounds and movements. I realized that I wanted to help others with Tourette Syndrome, so I became a Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Syndrome Association. As a Youth Ambassador, I go to schools to speak to students and faculty to explain about Tourettes and what they might be seeing in a classmate.
I like being able to help others with the same condition as I have and help them find their voice. Last year in school I volunteered to be in a gym class where I got to work with special needs students. I enjoyed helping and watching them succeed in new experiences. This made me decide that I want to work with people with special needs. I have learned that even though I have a disability, and have faced challenges, I can never let it stop my hopes and dreams. Even if I have to work harder than most, I know that that’s what I need to do to succeed. I am very proud of my accomplishments and will continue to work hard to achieve my goal of succeeding in college.
My Grandpa Richie, a dedicated and driven farmer who had never taken a sick day in his life, sat waiting in a doctor’s office. For months, he had lost weight rapidly and became more prone to common colds. After finding a lump under his arm, Grandpa knew it was time to face the mystery head on. One word would change my family’s lives forever: Lymphoma. Grandpa’s diagnosis would take many things from him, including his independence and strength. Despite these being robbed from him, Grandpa Richie took every measure to protect his biggest priority: precious time left with us.
The doctors presented Grandpa with the option of chemotherapy. However, he rejected the proposal. He resented the idea of leaving his family with tainted memories of him weak from the brutal chemicals. Grandpa Richie had lived a lengthy life filled with simple joys, such as being promoted from father to grandfather. He had accomplished all he desired to do, if not more. He was proud of the beautiful life he had built with his friends and family. Thus, Grandpa Richie did not want to count how many more memories he could create if he underwent chemo; he wanted to lose himself in the countless moments he had left.
Grandpa taught me to never reflect on life with bitterness. “A clock can only tick forward so that’s the way we go,” he would tell me. He never resented the struggles he faced; instead, he chose to love the life he was given. Grandpa kept his optimism by viewing his illness as an opportunity to live everyday with unfathomable joy. At first, it was hard for me to understand how he could not hate this awful disease; I saw it as an evil that turned my world upside down. The more it progressed, however, the more I understood Grandpa’s positivity. I was suddenly aware of the happiness simple things brought, such as how Grandpa held his coffee with both hands to soak up its warmth on chilly mornings. I began savoring every moment instead of taking them for granted. During the ups and downs of Grandpa’s journey, I came to realize where my place was in the world. I developed a love of caring for those in their last stages of life. I began working and volunteering at my local nursing home and hospital to gain a better understanding of this new passion. The more I interacted with those receiving hospice care, the more I realized this was where I was meant to be.
This coming fall of 2018, I will be attending St. Cloud State University to pursue my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. After graduating, I hope to be a home-health nurse specializing in hospice care. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than being a hand to hold and listening ear for those when they are most vulnerable. Caring for those who have impacted the world with their spirit and love, just like Grandpa Richie, is a blessing beyond belief.
I am 18 years old and in my sophomore year at Chamberlain College of nursing. If you were to ask me if I always wanted to be a nurse my answer would be no. I was around 7 or 8 when first being asked what I wanted to be and I had my little heart set on being a lawyer. There was no changing that I wanted to be a lawyer. It made money and I loved to debate and I thought that was my calling. I had this image in my head to be this successful lawyer who could pay for her mother when she got older. It wasn’t until the end of year of my freshman year where I knew I wanted to be a nurse I would do anything and everything to make that happen.
I didn’t grow up with the traditional American family and struggled through a lot of hardships but through all that I had my Aunt Sherry and her house was my escape. Whenever I needed money or food or just to spend the night some where we were always welcomed with her loving arms. Freshman year everything is going great. I had the support system I needed but it suddenly it came crashing down when my aunt got sick. My aunt became hospitalized and underwent surgery. My aunt didn’t make it. It was that day I died inside. I didn’t make the best choices following her death but the one thing that stuck with me is the nurses. I remember walking that hospital with my mom and siblings and getting lost and asking the nurses where to go and the nurses constantly checking in and I understand it is their job but it felt like a comfort from them. I felt almost safe.
As I was going through this life changing experience I began to look back at all the times I had been in the hospital for sprained ankles, misplaced shoulders, stitches, allergic reactions I can’t remember the part that included the doctor just the nurses. The nurses where the ones to keep checking on me and getting me fitted for crutches and slings and staying around to make sure I was alright. It was after my aunts passing where I had my epiphany and knew nursing was my calling, becoming a nurse is what I am meant to be in life. I continued through my remaining three years of high school researching and applying for colleges and scholar ships and making sure I would be alright once I walked out the doors in high school. I was blessed enough to be accepted into all the schools I applied to and ended up choosing Chamberlain for the financial needs it was able to assist with. I remember walking in last year and getting my tour and just wanting to cry because I never felt more welcome in a place before. I had a sudden rush of energy and happiness when we entered all the sim labs and met professors and I just knew this is what I was meant to do and be.
I took something negative and made it into something positive something I know I love and enjoy and something that will be escape just like my aunt was at some point in time. I completed my first year of nursing school with making the dean’s list and I continue to brag about it to this day. Nursing isn’t a hobby it’s my passion.
Compassionate, respectful, empathetic, and confident. These are the traits of some of the most influential people in the workforce, medical professionals. My interest in the medical profession not only came from the dramatizations on television, or the stories I was told, but also by the endeavors of my parents. Over the years, my mother has worn many hats in the nursing profession. From a surgical nurse, a hospice caregiver, program coordinator and nursing educator, my mother has done it all. Growing up, I remember my mother dragging herself through the door following a sixteen hour shift. Though she was drained, she always would share how relieved she was that she was able to help someone that day or provide a peaceful passing for a patient under hospice care. At a young age, I remember my mother sharing with me children’s books about the body systems, I became increasingly mesmerized at how intricate the body functions were. The many systems working together like well-oiled machine to perform the many intricate tasks that are required fascinates every cell in my being.
My father, a former volunteer fireman, also influenced me in an astonishing way. I fondly remember waking up in the middle of the night, an intense ringing of his pager echoed through the house. Often followed by the clamoring of the bedside table, the sound of heavy boots down the hallway, the thud of our door being swung open, and an increasingly distant sound of sirens as my father raced to save whomever needed him. When he arrived, he would run, climb, and crawl through smoke filled rooms set ablaze in order to rescue someone in need. My father never knew these people nor had any relation to them, yet he went in to save them nonetheless. Upon his return, he always shared stories of heroically risking his life, entering a burning building to save the life of a complete stranger. The thing that always amazed me the most, however, was when we saw those strangers in public and they approached him thanking him and I could see the gratitude rush over their face like a wave crashing on the beach. The combination of both he and my mother acting as strong influences introduced at a young age, shaped me into the passionate seventeen year old that I am today.
My past has drastically influenced both the person I am today and the person I hope to be in the future. I am often viewed as crazy for having such a passion at this age and people often tell me to loosen up and just enjoy being a kid. However, being a kid and being the way that I am has gotten where I am today and what I really want to enjoy is my future in the medical profession. Though it is outlandish for a teenage girl to say she has a passion for medicine, I am that seventeen year old girl who believes that through the medical profession she can truly make an impact and give back in an unconventional way.
Times of trial throughout life allow a person to learn the most about themselves. The biggest trial in my life helped me determine the career I want to pursue. During a soccer game my junior year of high school, I felt an excruciatingly painful pop in my knee. Numerous doctors appointments following my injury determined that I had torn my ACL, and I was sent in to have surgery on my injured knee. A day following surgery, I anxiously went to my first physical therapy appointment. My nerves were instantly calmed when the therapist assured me that life would be back to normal before I knew it. She helped me recover completely and come back to soccer stronger than I was before. I could not have gotten through what I consider some of the worst moments in my life without the help of my physical therapist always encouraging and inspiring me.
Not only is it important to have physical therapy but also psychological therapy. Having a serious injury that involves much recovery can be devastating and difficult at times. I would often catch myself feeling discouraged and worried about trying to make a complete recovery for the next soccer season. However, my physical therapist encouraged and inspired me through it all. Each session she would reassure me that I was on the road to a great recovery and that this would make me stronger than ever.
Going through many strenuous weeks of physical therapy helped me come to a conclusion as to what career I wanted to pursue. I want to be able to help injured athletes going through the toughest times of their athletic career by helping the athlete recover through physical therapy. After graduating with my intended major in exercise science, my goal is to go on to get my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Seeing how much my therapist helped, encouraged, and strengthened me inspired me to want to do the same for other athletes and people with disabilities. Tearing my ACL may have been a painful and trying experience, but it lead me to the realization of the career I want to pursue in life.
At a recent soccer game, I felt another pop in my knee followed by raging pain. Instantly, I knew I had retorn my ACL. Devastating set in as I realized my high school soccer career was over. Once again, I will have to go through another surgery and months of recovering through physical therapy. However, this time around I am not worried about my recovery. My past experience with physical therapy left such a positive impact on me, and I know my physical therapist will once again do everything she can to help me make another full recovery.
As someone who does not know me looking in on my life, they might see just a normal African-American girl. However I am far from normal, for starters I am Transracially adopted. Meaning that me and my parents look nothing alike and people often question if I am biologically related to them all the time. Another thing that makes me stand out is that I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes pain and complications all throughout life. My parents knew this going into the adoption and thankfully followed through.
Throughout my life I have struggled with Sickle Cell and its varying complications. From minor pain to full on pain crisis, Sickle Cell constantly reminds me that it is ever so present in my life. Recently I have had problems with my blood volume and keeping it at a stale level. My hematocrit levels keep dropping to dangerously low levels, leaving me feeling dizzy light headed and fatigue. Lucky my team of Hematologists and nurses have been on top of trying to find a solution to this never ending problem. We’ve came up with having blood transfusions every month about a year ago when this all started. In the beginning of this I dreaded going to the hospital for a multitude of reasons, like missing schools, or the hospital time or just the simple fact that these visits are constant reminders of my Sickle Cell. However my sulking to the hospital stopped when I meet a transfusion nurse named Jennifer. Jennifer and I just clicked immediately making my experience at the hospital a little less gloomy and a whole lot better. When drawing my blood we’ll talk about our common interest like Tv shows, books and our shared interest in 90’s rap music. Jennifer truly makes my hospital experience better.
I want to join the medical field so I can be like Jennifer for another kid. My goal is to become a pediatric nurse in the hematology clinic at Children's Hospital. I am positive that my appreciation for nurses comes from all of the hospital visits and overnight stays that I have had myself. I remember being 12 and knowing that I wanted to be in the medical field, however back then I had not figured out for what. So every time I went into the hospital I watched the nurses, doctors and everyone else, so I could get a sense of what I wanted to do in the future. Around the age of 15 after I had collected all of my data, I decided that I wanted to be a nurse, because nurses are the ones that truly make a difference. Hopefully in the future, I will make a difference for someone.
I found my passion for becoming a nurse on a mission trip in Mexico. To begin, every year my church goes down to Mexico to help at a church plant. Sometimes when we go down we are working on the church and making their meeting place more comfortable, while other times we are serving the community by working to clean up and paint houses. While we are down there we stay in houses and last year one of the houses on the other side of the street blew up. Apparently, there was a gas leak in the house and at about 1:14 am on New Year’s Day the house collapsed. It was so scary. I was sleeping in the living room and when the explosion happened, the door was blown open by the force. All of us poured out of the house, having no clue what was happening. All the youth on the trip were so scared because all we saw was a fire and a collapsed building. Then, while our leaders were telling us to get back, we could hear people in pain, yelling for help. It was so hard to stand back and not be able to do anything. I felt so helpless and fearful of what would happen next. One of the leaders on the trip, Carol, was a nurse and she immediately jumped in to deliver first aid, until the ambulance came. Later, the couple who were trapped in the collapsed house came to our youth group to talk to us about what happened. The couple talked about what an impact the leader had on them. The husband talked about how calm and collected the leader was. They were so scared and my leader allowed them to feel safe. It was not the clinical skills or technical medical stuff she did that helped them most, but her calmness, in one of the scariest nights of their lives. This experience inspired me to want to become a nurse. I want to go to college and hone my skill, so that when the time comes I can help people. That youth leader did not know that 212 miles from home, at 1 o’clock in the morning, she would need to provide service to a random couple. However, she answered the call and did what she was trained to. My call may never be to save someone from a collapsed building or fire. My day may come in the form of being able to relate to a patient and provide a sense of security in their time of need. Additionally, I never want to be in a situation like the one I faced in Mexico, where there are people in need and I am unable to help them. I never want to feel that useless. To conclude, when I went on a mission trip to Mexico, seeing one of my leaders who is also a nurse, help a couple in need, inspired me to purse becoming a nurse.
The young man looked fearful . . . anxious. He was lying on the football field, holding his ankle, his eyes glassy with pain. He looked to me for comfort under the beaming stadium lights. It was in this moment that I knew, I had the power to make this a positive situation, ensuring the player was not afraid.
After suffering many injuries while playing competitive volleyball, I was forced to give up the sport I loved during my sophomore year. When the school’s Athletic Trainer asked if I would be interested in joining the Sports Medicine Program, I jumped at the opportunity. Upon completing first aid and emergency response training, I soon found myself kneeling on the field comforting the young man and assessing his ankle. I was nervous, as this was my first football game as a student athletic trainer, but I felt well prepared for what I needed to do. The rest is history.
I quickly learned during the next two years that I was passionate about the healing process. I always knew an occupation in healthcare interested me, but now I was positive. I want a challenging career, one that forces me to keep learning. I want to make a difference in people’s lives and make an impact on their everyday routine. In my high school classes I have excelled in a variety of areas; from academics, to photography, to cooking. I was awarded a $3,500 scholarship my senior year to attend a Medical Careers Exploration Program at the local community college. In this program I have gathered a wealth of information regarding the many occupations available within the medical field.
My great-grandmother was a nurse up until retirement, I will always remember the satisfaction she felt by helping people through her work. She worked a pediatric nurse, inspiring my hope to become a nurse midwife. My mom also works in a hospital and comes home every day confident with the fact that she has helped patients in receiving the best care possible. Both women are inspirations to my goals.
I want to be a nurse because I believe I can contribute to someone’s day. Whether it is with a smile, a comforting word, or by providing the best care, I know I will do my utmost for each patient. I believe that becoming a nurse will fit in with my personality. I appreciate a challenge, I am energetic, loving, and I thrive in a fast-paced atmosphere. I look forward to continual learning opportunities, as I know that making a difference in someone’s life will be rewarding. I am a person with strong values, and a great respect for life. I feel compassion for the suffering and I am patient. I see nursing as the career that is meant for me. I believe that becoming a nurse will mean the difference between my making a living and making a life and I look forward to this challenge.
This photo is the first time I ever wore scrubs, but definitely nowhere near my last time wearing them!
I was a micro-preemie. My twin and I were born prematurely at 26 weeks and I weighed just 1pound and 13 ounces. While our start was very difficult for our family, my mom says that it was one of the most special journeys she and my dad have ever taken.
Thanks to the care of the nurses and the neonatologists at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, I am now a 19 year old college student with a totally clean bill of health. The stories that my parents tell of our time in the hospital are the primary inspiration for my pursuit of a nursing career. Additionally, my mom has worked in Radiology at our hometown hospital for over 30 years and I have grown up around the health care setting. Since we were able to talk, my sister and I were volunteering at the hospital by appearing in marketing efforts and helping with community activities. In high school, I was fortunate enough to have a partial nursing education through a community college in our area. Our high school and the college have a partnership r to offer college classes to high school students through a career academy. It was when I was arranging my schedule for my junior year that I decided to enroll in the Nursing program.
I loved taking care of patients and found myself interested in different procedures and tasks that nurses are involved in. I felt like I had truly found my way and that this was definitely the career for me. I continued with academy through high school and took many of the required nursing courses as well as doing clinical time in local nursing homes. Working with the elderly is very rewarding and they have so much knowledge to offer regarding life experiences.
I am enrolled in community college and taking classes to help build my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing while I wait to begin the Associates Degree Nursing Program in June of 2018. I have been accepted and all of my core education classes have been completed as well as some of my primary nursing courses. Once I complete the program at community college, I will then move on to complete my Bachelor’s Degree while I work as an RN.
I feel that I owe a great deal to the doctors and nurses who cared for me and I want to pay that forward to help others through times of need with their health. I have had the pleasure of observing in the Surgical and Emergency Room areas as well. I find that those areas offer more of a challenge to me personally and feel that I may want to specialize in one of them.
As I continue on with my education and embark on the path to my nursing career, I can’t help but think about those individuals that were there for my parents as well as my twin and I. I hope to be able to share the gift of service to others.
I was inspired to pursue a career helping others because of events I had gone through in my life. Starting in my sophomore year in high school, I began passing out almost daily. With countless doctors and nurses visits we finally found the answer while at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. While in the cardiology unit, Dr. Webster and his Nurse Practitioner Jaclyn, ran test after test knowing it was a heart rhythms problem, but how they would go about fixing it was the question that had yet to be answered. After 10 days as an inpatient at Lurie Children’s in 2015, I was sent home on medication and with an implanted heart monitor. Much as I hoped this would solve my problems – it did not. However, it did allow my team to spot that I would have 10 second pauses between each heartbeat which is why the passing out spells were occurring. Come 2016, we decided the best course of action was to implant a pacemaker. After the surgery, I would not be allowed to do the one thing I loved the most- swim. This was heartbreaking for me, and my doctors and nurses knew the toll it was taking on me. Thankfully, with the support of those around me, I was able to put my energy into other things such as being accepted into a top nursing school and becoming the swim coach for special needs kids at my high school. I wanted to be the support for others in their tough time just as my medical staff and family had done for me.
This year the symptoms from my past had all returned. Episodes of heart palpitations, syncope, and shakiness were back in full swing at full force. The doctors and nurses who were there from the start were once again by my side. Dr. Webster discovered the pacemaker had malfunctioned and needed to be replaced as soon as possible. Although this may sound like a simple procedure, it was not. What should have been one 2 hour procedure turned into two, six hour procedures because my heart was not cooperating with the removal of the old pacemaker and the implantation of the new one. This was frustrating for me as well as hard for my body to handle. As my family encouraged me to be strong, so did the nurses and doctors taking care of me. In fact, Dr. Webster sat with my family through both of my surgeries and visited me with Jaclyn, his nurse practitioner, even though I was moved into an adult hospital. It is my experiences with these wonderful nurses and doctors who truly care about their patients that makes me want to be a nurse. I want to be the support for my patients and comfort them in their time of need like the nurses at Lurie's and Northwestern did for me.
Above is a picture of me this fall in Northwestern Hospital.
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