Brandon Echtenkamp

July 2011
Class of 2012


I Believe This About Nursing…"No other profession combines the science of medicine with the art of patient care in the way nursing does."

To be honest, I am not one of those individuals who knew they wanted to be a nurse ever since childhood.  I did not even realize it until a few years ago.  While completing my Exercise Science degree, I became interested in health care.  I discovered that I wanted to become involved with the medical field; however, I did not know to what capacity.  As a capstone to my degree, I completed an internship as a Clinical Exercise Specialist as a means to gain clinical experience and to get a feel for the health care field.  It was during this experience that I discovered my passion; nursing.  Working side-by-side with nurses, I learned all about the career.  Never had I seen such a passionate group of individuals who, in my opinion, are everyday heroes.  I was consumed by the idea of someday being a nurse myself.  I knew it was my calling.

Soon after making my decision to pursue a career in nursing, I began taking course prerequisites that would grant me entry in to the Nebraska Methodist College Accelerated BSN Program.  It was not long and I received my formal admission letter in the mail.  I had never been more excited.  I was utterly thrilled to be beginning my new journey as a nursing student and was eager to start.  However, debt from my last college degree, combined with the increased financial burden of nursing school, was constantly looming in the back of my mind.  I was considering the idea of trying to work throughout the grueling 15-month program despite being sternly warned by the admissions counselor not to.  Luckily, a new solution soon presented itself.
Shortly thereafter, I received a financial aid letter explaining my being awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Careers in Nursing Scholarship!  I was speechless as I showed the letter to my wife.  It was quite literally, a life changing moment.  My financial worries were gone.  After getting over the initial shock and excitement, I took it upon myself to research the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Upon discovering what the foundation was all about, I felt truly blessed to be a part of the scholarship program.

Throughout my time as a nursing student, I have not, nor will I ever, forget what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has done for me.  I am eternally grateful.  Someday soon, by climbing the ranks of the nursing world with my newly acquired leadership skills, I will take it upon myself to give back to the foundation in any way I can to ensure that minorities like myself will have a means to transition into nursing as I have.