Allison Goldstein (4th Quarter, 2008)

4th Quarter, 2008
Nursing Scholarship Winner
Allison Goldstein

Allison Goldstein attended University California San Diego with a major in Urban Studies and Planning and a minor in Biology. Besides being actively involved in her sorority as risk management chair, Allison volunteered at Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Palomar Hospital. In May, Allison will be attending Columbia University School of Nursing with a specialy in Family Nurse Practitioner and plans on working more with underserved communities.

A Portion of Allison’s Winning Essay:

Allison Goldstein

As a child I cherished my How Nature Works books. Fascinated by science, I spent hours reading about the human body. While other children played tag, I tried to figure out the digestive system.

Majoring in urban studies and planning in college, my fascination with science developed into a passion for healthcare. From taking courses that combined urban planning and science, such as “AIDS Science and Society,” I realized that I could combine my knowledge of progressive action, cultural studies, and medicine, as well as my love of science, to extend health services to diverse communities.

I knew that I wanted to be a nurse. I believe working in the healthcare field is about combining knowledge with personal relationships. A nurse must get to know a patient on a personal level in order to serve his or her immediate needs and provide information and prevention materials to improve his or her quality of life in the short and long term. As a family nurse practitioner, I will be trained to provide care, promote health, and treat disease in patients from childhood through old age, and trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases. I will be trained to help patients and communities become more self-sufficient and knowledgeable about their health by providing information, counsel and medical aid.

As a clinical care extender intern at Palomar and Pomerado Hospitals in San Diego, I served multiple departments including medical surgery, labor and delivery, emergency, and intermediate care. Acting as a nurse’s assistant, I worked closely with doctors, nurses, and advanced practice nurses from each department.

I participated in patient care tasks such as bathing, changing and feeding patients, and had the opportunity to see surgeries performed in the operating rooms and see babies born in Labor & Delivery. The advanced practice nurses who were able to provide a sense of comfort to patients and their families inspired me.

These nurses had the autonomy to decide on and execute their own medical decisions, and were highly respected by their patients as well as the nursing staff. Observing advanced practice nurses in a hospital setting, I realized that it is not enough to have a few great nurses in a department; all medical staff must excel as well.As an advanced nurse I could lead by example, employing the mission of the hospital to promote patient advocacy and safety.

During my three years as a reproductive health assistant at Planned Parenthood of San Diego, I was able to observe another aspect of advanced practice nursing. At the surgical center and family planning clinic I took part in medical examinations and procedures, as well as counseling practices. The nurses taught me how to educate patients on contraceptives, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, adoption, abortion, and how to achieve a healthy pregnancy. At Planned Parenthood, I worked with a diverse community of patients, serving multiple ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Working in underserved medical communities at both Palomar and Pomerado Hospitals and Planned Parenthood, intensified my understanding of the value of getting to know patients on a personal level.

It is vital for healthcare professionals to understand the culture and background of the communities they serve. With the vast number of Spanish speakers in the area, I realized the value of my fluent Spanish language skills and my interest in diverse communities.

My work with Planned Parenthood fueled my desire to help underserved medical communities and provide equal access to education, prevention materials, and quality services. Not only does the quality and availability of health education programs in underserved communities need to be increased, but these programs must also be culturally relevant and adaptable to different communities. As an advanced practice nurse I could improve community health through prevention and education, and serve as an advocate for patient rights and services. I believe that the need for costly health procedures, which can tax a family’s strength and finances, can be limited by increased prevention education and the exploration of alternative medicine. I look forward to helping families avoid costly medical procedures by providing the m with adequate prevention information.

While at University California San Diego, my senior research thesis allowed me six months of research experience in the field. In my thesis, “The Impact of Planned Parenthood of San Diego on the Health of Its Surrounding Communities,” I researched disease prevalence in San Diego communities and the different medical practices used by national and community-based health programs.

The research methods used in this project included statistical analysis, evaluation of previous research and data, and semi-structured interviews. My analysis examined Planned Parenthood’s educational programs, rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, teenage pregnancy, and frequencies of health services used for the county of San Diego over the past fifteen years, and found that Planned Parenthood has had a positive impact on the health of its communities.

This research was based on primary documents produced for Planned Parenthood of San Diego as well as sexually transmitted infection and HIV year reports produced by the County of San Diego.

During college I also published a research paper with a group of six people about a specific San Diego neighborhood. In the paper, we surveyed the community’s housing situation, popular transportation methods, education system, crime rates, and business opportunities. This demographic study illustrated the prominent issues of a community and how the regional government works with local businesses and residents to provide information about the variety of living situations across San Diego County.

I work well with other people on collaborative projects and I often find myself taking on a leadership role in these situations. I pride myself on my ability to remain diplomatic and counsel others toward resolution during a confrontation.

My ability to resolve conflict gained me leadership positions throughout high school and college. I served as the vice president of the American Red Cross Club in high school, and earned the position of risk management chair of Kappa Alpha Theta at UCSD. As risk management chair, I held numerous meetings to educate members on topics such as personal safety, pertinent health concerns, and other issues affecting undergraduates. I was drawn to this position to be able to interact with chapter members on a personal level and enable them to become invested in their own health and safety. I also served as a sorority recruitment counselor, and had the opportunity to counsel potential members through the recruitment process, help with their decisions and questions, and work as a liaison between chapters, the Panhellenic council, and potential members.

I look forward to volunteering in different communities during graduate school and continue to increase patient advocacy. As an advanced nurse, I will continue to sharpen my interpersonal skills while dealing with fellow staff members and patients.

I have a strong work ethic, and was awarded the “Clinical Care Extender of the Rotation,” from Palomar and Pomerado Hospitals. During my time at University of California San Diego I earned Provost’s Honors for my strong academic work.

During my junior year, I studied abroad in Cordoba, Spain. I lived with a Spanish host family, attended classes held in Spanish, and coordinated excursions around Spain and Europe. I was enriched by the language, food, activities, and family life. The experience was truly eye opening as I was able to observe and study a country with socialized medicine.

In Spain, pharmacists and nurses interact with patients more often than doctors do and medical procedures are the government’s concern.

My experience in Spain piqued my interest in successful healthcare systems around the world. I am interested in studying the healthcare systems of other countries to develop methods and techniques that could apply to communities in the United States. I look forward to working as an advanced practice nurse, providing healthcare to underserved and diverse communities. I am a diligent worker with strong interpersonal skills that I am excited to use in a real-world setting. As a strong patient advocate, I will continually stand up for patients’ rights and services, introduce patients to how healthcare systems work, and help them become invested in their healthcare.

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