Gregory Opseth

July 2011
Class of 2012


I believe this about nursing…"Nursing is being an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves."

My grandma was like a mother to me; someone whom I respected and admired more than ever. She worked as a detox counselor at an inpatient treatment center, and as a recovering alcoholic herself, she was able to counsel her clients in a way unlike others. She knew all their tricks, excuses, and routines. Nothing was a surprise to her nor did anything slip by her. She was a master at her work. But for my grandma, it was not just work; it was a passion and life calling. As I reflect on my time with my grandma, she undoubtedly inspired me to enter the healthcare field. As she used her life experiences to counsel alcoholics and drug addicts, I hope to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Words cannot describe the sincere passion I have to work in the field of hospice and gerontological nursing. Having experienced the tragic death of my 27-year-old brother only 8 months after my grandma died, I know these experiences will help me as I work with patients nearing the end of life.  I have a unique perspective on life which I will undoubtedly incorporate into my nursing care. Experiencing the death of a loved one is a tragic, difficult, and painful experience. Through my experience of losing my grandma and brother, I hope to bring to my patients and families a unique perspective; one of compassion, love, support, and kindness. Ultimately, I will be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

 As part of the introductory nursing course at Nebraska Methodist College, we learned about the end of life. We read stories about geriatric patients and experiences with death. One man, dubbed by the staff as a grouchy old man never wanting to interact, left behind a note found after his death. He wrote about the man he was on the inside. He described his feelings of loneliness, contempt, and dissatisfaction with what his life had become. However, he never got the chance to express this verbally. This deeply touched me as this patient population often gets overlooked.  I desire to become a director of nursing at a long-term care facility. It is my desire to instill in staff members the passion I have deep inside of me; one to acknowledge each resident as a person. That is, maintain an identity for each resident rather than becoming a room number. Each person’s identity is yearning to be discovered; it is my desire to develop an even deeper passion in myself and other staff members to discover each personality.  With this, I hope to foster an environment where older adults can flourish and thrive.