Hannah, my beautiful five year old daughter, is the reason I decided to be a nurse. Her bright smile, happy disposition, and gentle touch remain unmatched. She passed away on January 6th 2012. She was and continues to be my inspiration.
Hannah had gorgeous long blond hair, blue-green eyes, peaches and cream complexion, and the most amazing personality. Unfortunately, she also had a myriad of medical diagnoses with no unifying genetic or chromosomal diagnosis. Her diagnoses included, but were not limited to, multiple VSD’s, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary vein stenosis, asthma, cleft palate, and clubbed foot. During the day, her care included frequent pulse oximeter checks, supplemental oxygen, nebulizer treatments, chest PT theravest treatments, and bolus feeds. At night, she was on continuous pulse oximetry, oxygen, and g-tube feeds. In addition to the numerous daily medications and treatments, she had a Broviac central line catheter through which life sustaining medication was infused continuously 24/7.
I personally learned so much about nursing because of the demanding and meticulous care that was required to sustain her on a daily basis. More importantly, I learned about being an empathetic and kind human being. She touched everyone in a way that I never experienced before. Everyone who met her was enveloped by her kind and giving nature, open mindedness and open heart. My wife and I exerted every effort to provide Hannah with the best care, which included homecare shift nursing. Good nurses were a critical component of her care but were hard to come by. This prompted my decision to get a degree in nursing.
Deciding to go back for a second bachelor’s degree was not an easy decision. It was a tight rope balancing act. We had stacks of medical bills to settle/pay and Hannah’s situation was progressively getting more complicated. I knew if I returned to school, I would have loans to pay back and my wife would have to work to support our family. Additionally, we had to follow-up with fifteen specialists and follow through on recommendations (i.e., surgery). We knew we would have to utilize any supports available to help us.
The Robert Wood Johnson Scholarship has supported my decision in that it has relieved some of the financial burden. Moreover, it has pushed me to get involved in volunteer opportunities within the community. The need for students, professionals, and families to get involved is imperative. My wife and I recognize that without community supports and various programs, we would not have survived. This holds true for the groups to which I have dedicated time during my volunteer involvement. This scholarship has proven invaluable in terms of the experiences, knowledge, and skills I have gained in order to promote change, aid those in need, and educate others. These are life skills that are necessary not only to be successful as a nurse but to be successful in any and all endeavors.