David McComb

April 2011
Class of 2011


I believe this about nursing.... “It allows you to become conscious of being human.”

Having always been fascinated with pictures in grade school text books, I first studied photography--It was a very easy transition. The interaction of shadow and light express some condition of the human experience captured on pieces of paper. Looking at photographs, I found scenes of birth and dying along with images of fear, happiness and sorrow; records of child labor, post atomic bomb survivors, the seams of New York City's night life.  The person in the photograph was subject to the same spectrum of emotions as I was.  After taking in volumes of images I began to see the world as the family of man. I was moved to be more than a shutterbug; I was inspired to become a caretaker in this family.   

My knowledge of healthcare grew out of my service to the city of New York. I began working as an emergency medical technician and then followed that up by becoming a paramedic. Through this service I was given the privilege and responsibility of treating the injured and sick in a variety of environments. I encountered people on their worst day. While emergency medical services are a vital function in the community, I grew frustrated out of repeated contact with clients whose illnesses were preventable. Nursing gives me the ability to meet these needs and to make the ambulance less necessary.

As I continue my journey to learn the human body, I begin to understand myself and the feeling I get when I run out of breath from a jog, my reactions to the stress of a work day and rubbing a joint that hurts. As I understand these processes in myself, I begin to understand them in the people I care for as well. Here, I am not separated by a lens and am no longer a passive witness, but one who supports those in their time of need. To approach nursing as the application of medicine is wrong. A broken arm does not simply need a cast.  The care of a person, a human, is so much more than the sum of medical technology. As a nurse you see how the arm became broken, how it affects that person in ways that do not show themselves with scars. Nursing creates comfort and dignity in times when it seems there is none.

I welcome the challenge of SUNY Downstate's accelerated nursing program as well as the work experience to come. What has been an intense learning experience so far has begun to shape me into a provider. I am extremely grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They have supplemented my education and enabled me to give my studies the full attention they deserve. I am now able to buy books outside of my course material that will strengthen my skills. I will always be reminded of their generosity when these resources help me in the coming years.