Jeffrey Lam (3rd Quarter, 2005)

3rd Quarter, 2005
Nursing Scholarship Winner
Jeffrey Lam

Born in China, he migrated to the United States 15 years ago. His goal is to provide optimal patient outcomes across their lifespan, to minimize hospital stays and healthcare cost, and to help achieve Healthy People 2010 objectives of our country.

A Portion of Jeffrey’s Winning Essay:

Jeffrey Lam

My family immigrated from China 15 years ago following the American dream like many others. Like many other immigrated families, my family was just making ends meet. I actually thought about getting into the medical field when I was deciding my major because as a child, I admired and was fascinated by the work of the doctors and nurses who calmed a child crying in pain, carried the weak and comforted the old. However, due to lack of financial support and pressure from my family to graduate in the shortest period of time, I got my first degree in Computer Information System.

During my five years working as a software engineer, I spent most of my time at work and life seemed ok. Yes, I was making a living, but I lost a sense of meaning in life between the turning on and turning off of my desktop day in and day out. I want to be able to soothe a child’s pain and see the smile on the weak and the old who are cared for.

When my last company closed down it gave me an opportunity to get into a career I have always wanted–a career in nursing. Specifically, I want to be able to make a difference in those people who are facing a life-threatening situation in the hospital.

I took some pre-requisites of nursing and got into the Emergency Medical Technician program at City College of San Francisco. I also got certified in CPR and applied to be a volunteer in the Emergency Department of San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) as soon as I was qualified.

One of the reasons I want to be a nurse in the hospital is that I see a serious shortage of Chinese-speaking nurses in hospitals citywide. Everyday at SFGH, I am the only one who can communicate with patients who only speak Cantonese or Mandarin. The degree of such shortage in hospitals has not improved since the time my late-mother was admitted to SFGH trauma center ten years ago to the time with my late-grandmother in Saint Luke’s Hospital two years ago to just last year when my father was twice admitted to UCSF.

According to the U.S. Census in the year 2000, the Chinese population of San Francisco grew by 85% over a twenty-year period, and nearly two-thirds of the Asian-Americans in San Francisco are now Chinese. I hope to fulfill the need of Chinese-speaking nurses in hospitals and improve the services to patients.

Since I started to actually work as a volunteer in the emergency room, my life has been so much more satisfying – I feel satisfaction and happiness from the bottom of my heart when I witness patients in various critical conditions from the moment they are just clinging on to life to the moment they feel better and sleep quietly in bed with the professional help; from the doctors and nurses. After observing the loving doctors and nurses, I realize that I cannot just be a nurse. I will do my best to obtain and improve the important skills of good bedside manners: comforting words, listening ears and a pat on patients’ hands; such skills cannot be learned from books but they make a world of difference to the patients.

In the next three years, I want to get a master’s degree in nursing at USF and become a Clinical Nurse Specialist or a Nurse Practitioner. Knowing that “nurses are the first line of defense”, I will take my study very seriously. I will work closely with the professors to learn the essential skills to become an effective nurse. After I graduate, I hope to use my skills and provide services at the hospitals in the city.

Copyright 2009, All rights reserved.

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