Meet our Scholars

Years Awarded:

"Someday, I hope I will be the one that allows a patient and their family to breathe a sigh of relief when I enter the room."

Sitting on a cushion covered table in a bright fluorescent room, a nagging sense of nervousness grew in my mind. Fear washed over me, stronger than any fear that had touched me in the weeks leading up to this appointment. I looked down at my baby doll nestled between my arms, attempting to draw strength from its unblinking eyes when the door clicked open. I snapped my head up, dreading it was another person with needles wanting something more from me. Seeing who it was, I gasped and ran, my doll long forgotten on the examination table. This person brought more comfort than any doll or toy. It was my nurse someone who had known me virtually my whole life. He became my primary pediatric nurse ever since I was been diagnosed with hepatoblastoma at three months old. As he held me, I knew that my fears were completely irrational because he would be the first person by my side. His calm demeanor consistently radiated throughout the room, providing a sense of peace for my whole family . This man, my pediatric nurse of 16 years until the day he retired, is one of the people who have inspired me to pursue a career in nursing to help those in my same position. My experience with cancer has influenced and molded me into the person I am today. It is the inspiration for my future dreams, goals and the person I want to become.

As I plan to obtain my doctorate in nursing with a specialization in pediatric oncology, I never want to lose sight of my future dreams. While my dreams and goals continue to shift and grow as I, myself change and grow, one thing remains constant: I do not plan to live my life for myself. Instead, I hope to continue to serve others and selflessly give myself to people in the same way that my own pediatric nurse wholeheartedly gave himself to me and every patient’s life he touched. This would give me more satisfaction than any other career path. I embrace the idea of working in uncomfortable conditions as a pediatric nurse. Although working at any facility in the field of pediatric oncology will be a great challenge, it would be my preference to travel to other countries where the need is greatest. This would include working close to home, in need-based areas throughout the United States that many people overlook or shy away from.

Not only is it my goal to aid in the physical healing of each patient, it is also my goal to emotionally touch the patient and their family. When I walk into a patient’s room, I would love to be the one of the people that combats at least one of their fears. I know that success may not come with every case, but I want each person to feel that someone is on their side and cares about them as a human being, not just as a patient in the hospital. This is exactly how I felt in the years following my diagnosis. I know that I was not just another set of test results to further their research. Everyone, especially my pediatric nurse, cared for my well-being. Beyond being a well-educated nurse, I want to touch people’s lives in ways that they will never forget. I know how much darkness can consume an entire family when up against a sickness similar to mine. It is my goal to combat that darkness for the patient and their family, to go beyond the basic concept of nursing of providing care for the sick and infirm. My family went through many struggles during my illness, including the constant fear that I would relapse during my remission. It still brings them great joy to see my former nurse because of the peace he always provided them through these times. I want to be a reminder that life is so much bigger than every situation we are put in. Whether or not they remember me, it is my desire to provide a sense of hope that they will always carry with them.

Although I could not imagine during that time as a terrified six-year-old waiting to get her blood drawn, that five years later I would walk out of another appointment with the realization that would define the rest of my life: it was my desire to be so much more than my sickness – I wanted to be a nurse – but not just any nurse, not just a person who took care of those who were sick. I wanted, and still desire, to be a nurse who selflessly serves others and looks out for their emotional and physical well-being, a nurse who can touch a person’s life, reminding them that they are not alone. Instead of dwelling on my past, I am deciding to take my past experiences and share them with others through my actions. This has been my dream from the beginning. Seven years later, it still is. In the years to come, I have full confidence that I will continue to strive towards my firsthand insight of everything that a nurse is and, while forging my path, keep an open heart and mind to everything a nurse should be. I hope that someday I will be the one that allows patients and their families to breathe a sigh of relief when I enter the room.