2nd Quarter, 2007
Nursing Scholarship Winner
“My name is Ugochi Okum Onyike. It means eagle of God in Ibo, which is a tribe in Nigeria. I am one of four Children born to a loving Licensed Vocational Nurse, Rebbecca Onyike, and caring father, Eugene Onyike, in Oakland, California, June 13, 1984.
I began preschool at Crescent Park, but finished my preschool, and kindergarten days in Nigeria where i stayed for three years.It wasn’t till Elementary that i came back to complete the rest of my grade school. From Fairmont located in the heart of El Cerrito, to Portola Middle school, was the awakening of my passion for dance and science. When i graduated from middle school, I decided to attend El Cerrito High, a place that allowed me to discover my abilities. During high school my passion for dance and science increased to the point were i breath it, and lived it.
Now, I currently attend San Francisco State University. My goals are to get a B.S in Nursing. On completion, I plain to travel the world to help those who are limited in medical care. Also I want to open up a medical clinic for the minorities so that medical care could be available to them.”
A Portion of Ugochi’s winning essay:
There are very few things in life that one can be absolutely sure of. There are too many variables in the world; changing one can result in a completely different result. However, just as sure as the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west, I’ve known nursing was for me since elementary school. My mother, my role model, is a nurse.
As a youth I’d be mesmerized with the stories she would come home and share with me. No matter how severe the patient’s injury, the story would always have a happy ending. I longed to be in the position that my mother was in, as she would assist the doctors, making certain the patients would rehabilitate. She would tell me of how she would coax the most stubborn patients into taking medication, or other things they would not want to do but were necessary to ensure their adequate healing. I would listen intently, taking these stories recreating the scenarios she’d given me with my dolls and toys, mimicking my mother, as I was the nurse in my room’s hospital, and, like my mother, it was my job to provide treatment to my toys.
At Fairmont Elementary School, during my fourth through sixth grade years, I had my first encounter with assisting human patients. I was afforded the opportunity to work with the handicapped children during my lunch period. I, and my fellow volunteers, helped them with flexion and rotation, rubbing lotion into their hands and arms, aiding their circulation, thereby assisting the feeling in their limbs. This is an experience I would not trade for anything in the world, as even at such a young age, I became addicted to the feeling one gets when one knows she has helped another human. I became (and remain) a junkie for this feeling, as when someone gets hurt I am always the first one to run and get the first aid kit, and applying treatment to the best of my ability. My cousin Chibi got bit by a dog, and I would not let him go see the doctor until I had rinsed the bite and done my job as his cousin-nurse to prepare him for the doctor.
When I was 15, I received the opportunity of the lifetime. For the only time in my life, I was able to shadow my mother on, “Take your kids to work day.” As patient’s information is confidential, I was only able to follow her to the rooms where the patients consented. (I believe it worked out to be 30-45 minutes total.) I enjoyed lending my mother a hand, and the stories her patients would tell me about my mother’s patience and kind heart. Few people enjoy going to the hospital, and still fewer want to be hospitalized so a kind nurse can make the stay bearable, each of he patients informed me that was what my mother did for them.
On November 26, 2005, I had the experience that confirmed my destiny was nursing. My niece, Delia was born at 12:49AM. As my sister, stubborn as she was, insisted she wanted no medicine to assist with the pain, I watched as the nurses did all they could to assist her. They told her about more comfortable positions to in which to lie, talked with her, in an attempt to maintain her calm, ensured her IV stayed in and provided her with proper hydration, and reminded her that an epidural was still available should she so choose. I watched, fascinated as I found myself replacing the nurse’s faces with my own. I refused to leave the room (until my sister accepted the epidural and everyone other than the doctor and her husband had to leave), watching intently, thinking, “I could do that.” I WILL do that.
I am convinced that I possess the same kind heart my mother’s patients informed me does she. Partner these two things, and I am certain that I will fulfill my Ancestral Obligation to greatness and become the next great Onyike nurse, making my mother, the nurse in my life, proud.
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