Elizabeth Wenc

February 2015
Class of 2016


I believe this about nursing..."Nurses have the unique opportunity to make a positive impact on people's health and their self-worth."

Nurses have the unique opportunity to make a positive impact on people's health and their self-worth. They can not only make the difference between a person's illness and wellness, but they can also be the difference between a positive experience and outlook, and a negative one. Of course nurses are caregivers, but they are so much more than that. They are advocates, teachers, planners, evaluators, managers, and researchers. What other career allows someone to fulfill so many roles? That combined with my innate desire to help people are the main reasons that I decided to change my career to nursing.

    Nurses are advocates for their patients' safety, their wishes, wellness, and rights. My eyes were opened to this when I had my children. The nurses who cared for me and my children took excellent care of us. They understood my needs and worked with me to develop a plan. My daughter was in the neonatal intensive care unit for the first week of her life. As hard as that was, I had complete trust in her nurses to take care of her since they kept me well-informed, coordinated with my nurses so that I could spend as much time with her as possible, and explained tests and procedures to me. They also directly taught me about infant care and breastfeeding since I was an inexperienced first time mother. I was embarrassed about being so uninformed, but they reassured me that my lack of experience was completely normal. They ensured that I felt comfortable and that I had a good knowledge base and the resources I needed for help before leaving the hospital. When I had my son two years later, although he was rooming with me, I asked to send him to the nursery for a few hours so that I could sleep. Part of me felt terrible and thought I would be judged for it, but my nurse encouraged me to get enough sleep as possible, especially since I would not be getting much help once I left the hospital. In short, the nurses made me feel like a person, not a patient. I was able to observe many of the roles that nurses perform, which sparked my interest in the field. The positive impacts that the nurses had on me, made me desire to do the same for others. This inspired me to begin working my way to nursing school.

    The road getting here has been long, but well worth it. I applied to the nursing program two years ago. Since my first degree is in English, I had not taken the science     and math courses that were required of the nursing program. Thus, I took pre-requisites slowly while working full time as a teacher. I managed to pay out of pocket for all of my pre-requisite courses since I worked full time, but since I left my job at the end of the school year last May, I had to take out more federal student loans on top of the balance I had left from my first degree, as well as private loans. Deciding to go back to school was a struggle because I knew that it meant more than a busy schedule and late nights of homework and studying. It also places financial hardship on my family between the loss of my income and the additional student loan debt. For this reason, being awarded the Robert Wood Johnson scholarship was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. The money helps tremendously with tuition, allowing me to take out less money in private loans so that I can save on interest. It will also allow me to pay off my loans sooner once I do obtain full time employment again. I think more than anything, though, earning the scholarship confirmed to me that people believe in me, and it reminded me to believe in myself.

    I am so thrilled to be on my way to joining what I believe to be one of the most respected and rewarding careers in the world. Of course in some ways the real journey has just begun, which is simultaneously scary and exciting. But to be able to actually be the one who makes the lasting impression and positive impact is worth the hard work it will take to get there.