1st Quarter, 2008
Nursing Scholarship Winner
Lisa is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and is currently in the accelerated BSN program at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.
A Portion of Lisa’s Winning Essay:
It is very important to realize your own strengths, interests, and values when choosing a career path. Knowing yourself thoroughly is fundamental in enjoying your career. This truthful and honest statement will reveal my personal background and experiences, not shown by my academic transcript, that have truly prepared me for the great time and energy commitment needed to be a successful nursing student.
Nursing is not just a science, but also an art. Nurses form therapeutic, helping relationships with their patients. They are devoted to promoting, restoring and maintaining the health of individuals, families, and communities. It not only requires the ability to understand people’s illnesses, but also the ability to assume the position of a caregiver when people are possibly at their worst.
I have the enthusiasm and perseverance to become a caring, ethically oriented nurse, who is capable of developing her ideas through personal experience. After reading this statement, my motivations behind the decision to enter such an analytical field will be evident.
My family believes strongly in a well-rounded education. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, are teachers. I see education as a doorway that leads to freedom to choose one’s future. My parents taught me that I could accomplish anything as long as I was well prepared, and I was taught to exercise my abilities to the fullest and to fulfill my potential through experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
In the same light, I believe that an individual does not become a good nurse simply by classroom studies, but by developing into a well-rounded person. With this in mind, I’ve developed interests and leadership roles in different areas.
At Dyersburg State Community College, I served as a Student Ambassador and performed four semesters with the D.S.C.C. Orchestra. My dedication to the community and genuine concern for the well being of others is evident through my actions as president D.S.C.C.’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. My chapter participated in the Satellite Seminars. These seminars brought the diverse student and citizen groups of the community together to discuss timely issues of health. I served as moderator at three of the seminars.
Being an active president in PTK led to the receipt of an Academic Performance Scholarship to East Tennessee State University. I chose to complete my 76 hours/semester of work-study hours required to keep the A.P.S. scholarship in the Biological Sciences Department. This helped me gain extra insight into my major, as well as get to know some of the faculty members outside of the classroom.
I also volunteered at the Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House in Johnson City, TN while I was in college. I truly enjoyed my time spent there with the families. I volunteered in the evenings, so over dinner, the families would all share their stories and updates about their sick children. I loved hearing about the different backgrounds the families came from and how their children were improving in health. I was glad that I could lend an ear or help out in this emotional and stressful time in their lives.
I have always been a self-motivated person who enjoys working hard to generate results. I take life for granted, never questioning that the next day will arrive on time. The relative importance of life to the events that compose it did not become clear to me until my grandma was diagnosed with Cancer my first year at E.T.S.U.
My family lives in a small town outside of Memphis, and I was all the way across the state. I felt helpless because I could not help or comfort them or my grandmother. My first two years of college were spent struggling to find which career best suited me in this world full of possibilities. However, when I came home for Thanksgiving and saw the pain that my grandma was experiencing and the levels of sickness she transitioned through, I realized for the first time that my desire to work in the health field was deeper than I thought.
It was deeper than gaining prestige, understanding complicated reactions, and making my parents proud. Not only was it what naturally interested me, but I was driven to provide care to help people and their families going through similar situations. I wanted to make a positive impact. Not being able to physically be there and support my family, along with knowing that my grandma was quickly dying of something that took over her entire body at a very fast rate, allowed me to realize that I did not want to be helpless when other families lived through the similar experiences. I wanted to be in the position where I can take part in diagnosing, helping, comforting, and hopefully curing my patients. When I last saw my grandmother, she did not know who I was. She died shortly after I returned to school after Christmas vacation in January.
My experience with my grandma also led to an interest in medical research. My last semester at E.T.S.U., I had the opportunity to work in a Biochemistry lab as an Independent Study. The professor’s research was concerning the mechanism for the transport of Iron in Escherichia Coli. I enjoyed the experience, but wanted to be involved with something that hit closer to home.
Since graduating in May 2006 with my degree in Biology, I have worked at the Medical School at Marshall University as a research assistant to a Biochemist who is doing Cancer research. Her research is with melanoma. This sparked great interest with me since that is the type of Cancer my grandma was diagnosed with. However, from learning about other professors’ research and learning about what they are doing in their labs, I have gained a lot of knowledge and insight to mechanisms and the body’s response to many kinds of Cancer. I have had to rely upon my own ingenuity and problem solving skills as well as what I have learned in the classroom, and this has been exciting.
I like research because, although I don’t directly interact with people who are sick, I know that my work and research will hopefully somewhere down the line help in the treatment of patients. The work, at times, becomes tedious, and the project progresses very slowly. Many just give up, feeling that the answers they seek are buried too deep and require too much effort to find. However researching has taught me patience. I realize that many times progress plateaus, or even declines before I find the results I seek. Most of all, I know that the more hard work I invest, the more exciting and fulfilling are the later rewards.
Research has also helped me develop several skills such as public speaking, scientific writing, running projects, organization, critical thinking, evaluation of published papers and presentations at research meetings, and the knowledge to supervise or give advice to junior colleagues interested in research. These are all skills that I believe will help me in any area of the health care field. A good nurse must have the training and the mind of a scientist and he must have the heart and compassion of one who cares about people of all kinds. I have the energy, patience, and determination to continue to learn throughout life and yet have the time and concern for each person who requires my attention.
I am interested in many fields of nursing. As an RN, I think I’d like working in Critical Care or Trauma. I recently had the opportunity to shadow a long time friend of mine who is a CCRN at The Med. This hands-on experience gave me great insight into what I’m in for. Aside from a full day of seeing patients for wound assessment, I had the opportunity to talk with other nurses, as well as externs who are students at UT. I learned UT has a demanding nursing program. I like this because I plan on pursuing education further than my BSN. The high demands, along with the high first time pass rates on the NCLEX, lead me to believe that UT will prepare me best for my desire to continue my education. My background in working in a lab leads me to believe that I’d enjoy doing research as a nurse. This is why I am interested in possibly getting my PhD in nursing. I am also interested in becoming a CRNA and working in surgical, trauma, or obstetrical settings. My background in microbiology and introduction to a whole new world of viruses and bacteria that live within and around us, has sparked an interest in, at some point, working for Doctors Without Borders and serving populations overcome with disease. I strive to be challenged and gain knowledge. The exciting frontiers of nursing fuel this desire. The education I will gain as a nurse will satisfy my goals of serving those in need, leading a lifetime of learning, and working in various fields. The many areas of nursing will make it possible to always find a specific aspect that interests me. My time being devoted to others and their needs is a selfless commitment that will result in the self-satisfaction of knowing that others are happier and healthier because of my actions.
My love for learning, desire to help others, and science background are strengths that will truly help me succeed in nursing. My personal life experiences and strong academic history have prepared me for the challenging and physically strenuous situations ahead of me. The poet Matthew Arnold said that, “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.” I have attained the knowledge, but now I strive to make something more of myself. In the time I have had to explore myself, as well as the dimensions of nursing, I have seen the tremendous impact that nurses have. It is a profession that, above all, allows people to help others. You form close, lasting, meaningful relationships with a wide array of patients. It is the perfect avenue for indulging my impulses to contribute, to be involved with science, and to establish important links with others at both critical and non-critical moments in their lives. Being a nurse is the profession where my intellectual curiosity, care for others, and desire to help will be most valuably useful. Professionally and personally, I will be fulfilled.
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