3rd Quarter, 2009
Hi! My name is Juls Phanthavong and I attend Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University. I will be graduating this December 2010 with my BSN. I plan to engage on a months long mission trip to Orphanage Emanuel in Honduras after graduation. Eventually, I would like to pursue missions full time. Until then I would like to work in either a pediatrics, ER, or ICU setting in the hospital. I am thankful that I have found a profession in which I can continually learn and grow in. There are so many areas nursing exposes me to. There is the global scale, the hospital setting, community clinics, home health nursing, etc. I know I can never become bored and stagnant in a profession that offers so many vital opportunities.
A Portion of Juls’ Winning Essay:
Sitting in the living room I focused on the painting behind my mother’s face. With just three days before freshman orientation my mother expected me to have had my whole life planned out. On the contrary, I expected to discover the direction of my life during college. Consequently, I found myself on the receiving end of a two hour lecture, trying to pretend to pay attention as my mother explained I needed to make practical choices. This attitude of ‘let’s see how things go’ was not acceptable.
I had never given much thought to these things beforehand. In researching colleges my mind was swarmed with the myriad of possible majors: biomedical engineering, anthropology, cultural studies, art history, Spanish, etc. I wanted to do and try them all. I had the naiveté and adventurous spirit of a teenager. Reality soon set in. I had to choose just one? That, I thought, was simply not possible. And yet, I did. I chose nursing.
I should say I stumbled blindly towards nursing. It’s funny with all the majors I had looked at; nursing never once crossed my mind. It was only through a conversation with my aunt (initiated after said above lecture) that we crossed paths. My aunt knew beforehand that I was still undecided on declaring a major and was particularly enthusiastic about endorsing her profession, nursing. To be honest, that conversation did not make me fall in love with nursing. It simply allowed me to placate my mother by choosing a profession that was lucrative, practical, and had the added benefit of being approved by my aunt.
So I entered freshman year as a pre-nursing student who had no clue what being a nurse entailed. Throughout the year I never gave much thought to nursing and never grew more enthusiastic about it. So it was a surprise to me that freshman year flew by and here I was, a sophomore sitting at a desk in nursing school. How had I gotten here?
At first it was for purely superficial reasons that I remained in nursing school. They were smart, the professors. The very first day they played a Johnson & Johnson video depicting children discussing how their nurses had made an impact on their lives. Suffice to say, that did me in. As I watched I was getting a sense of what it meant to be a nurse. I remember after that class heading straight to my laptop to start researching my chosen profession. A little late to be sure, but I soon fell in love, this time for real, with nursing.
I have always wanted to be involved in something that dealt directly with human relations. I also have a passion for science: pathophysiology, biology, psychology. Nursing found a way to meld my two interests together into one cohesive package. Furthermore, as I delved deeper into my classes I realized a career I had once not known one iota about was now encompassing my life. Clinicals in the hospital were exhilarating. I loved spending time with my patients, sitting with them, and understanding their stories and backgrounds. The human aspect of nursing particularly sparks a passion in me.
More than anything, I love people. I love the human touch and the ability nurses have to interact with people from all walks of life. I remember how I once wanted to be an anthropologist and study other cultures. As a nurse I will face different cultures, languages, and traditions, learning through experience to effectively treat each patient with the same due respect and courtesy.
In addition to my school activities, I devote my time to volunteering at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) every week. Working in the Family Library allowed me to develop relationships not only with patients and their families, but also gave me the opportunity to directly observe issues that needed to be addressed in the healthcare arena. Living in Atlanta I am aware of the numerous homeless shelters with families “living” there. I saw the importance of health insurance and its’ correlation with the quality of care received. Working at CHOA I saw how the children were receiving newly researched treatments and the best possible care in GA; however, I realized sadly that there are also children in homeless shelters who are in need of care. This semester I will be volunteering at homeless shelters with GBANS and conducting blood pressure/diabetes/physical screenings.
Nonetheless, I know I will do more in the future. My dream is to open up a clinic that will offer full health services: dental, vision, vaccines, medications, etc. for the homeless. In addition to the free clinic, I believe in providing not only health services, but training and learning opportunities for the homeless as well. It is not satisfactory to simply take care of their physical ailments only to send them back into the world that initiated their problems. We must try and treat every aspect of the problem. I realize it is a big undertaking that can only be done in collaboration with other health professionals and a foray into the political world.
Attending the Georgia Nursing Students convention in Columbus, GA I witnessed the procedures that one had to undertake to pass legislature. The convention allowed me an inside look into how politics and healthcare are intertwined and dependent on one another. Working in the healthcare setting does not mean one is immune to politics. I was exposed to a different side of nursing that I had not previously known, stirring an interest in me to not only address social issues in the nursing field, but also in the political arena.As a future healthcare professional I love getting exposure in the health field. From May 16-May 23, 2009, I participated in a medical mission trip to Honduras. In addition to working within the capacity of a nursing student I was also able to utilize and mature my pharmaceutical, evangelical, and Spanish speaking skills. Being in Honduras I realized another hidden calling: missions.
My faith was strengthened and now I plan on doing a mission trip in the future for an extended period of time. There is so much I want to accomplish, so many plans for my future that sometimes it seems overwhelming; however, I have faith in God to lead me on His path. Furthermore, this summer I worked in a non-healthcare related setting, challenging myself to grow in my depth of knowledge.
Although, I am a nursing student that does not mean I want to work within the confines of the healthcare community. As a video teacher for a program called Hearts to Nourish Hope (HTNH), I dedicated my time and effort to the community I was raised in: Clayton County. Though I have since left its schooling system, I remain committed to improving the education of the students who reside there, particularly the disadvantaged youth. HTNH supplied low income students with either employment opportunities or allowed them to take drama, music, art, or video classes. The students are able to receive stipends for the classes, gaining invaluable experience in the workforce.
In addition to my employment history, community service, and school activities I believe my academic record should also be considered in reviewing my application. In high school I was on the high honor roll and continued to succeed in college. I have been on the President’s and Dean’s List and plan on remaining in high academic standing.