Jennifer Schantz

December 2011
Class of 2012


I believe this about nursing… "Nursing has no borders."

For a long time, nursing was something I dreamed of doing but never thought feasible.  I was limited by feelings of fear: fear of starting over at my age, fear of failure, fear of debt, and fear of social expectations.  Those fears, however, became fears I was willing to face when one day while I was working in Japan, on a train ride to Tokyo, my husband and I witnessed an individual suddenly collapse.  Everyone stood frozen; no one on the train knew what to do.  I desperately wanted to help but all I could do is go over, see if he was breathing and call for help. The rest of the train ride, thoughts kept flooding in of times when I wished I had the knowledge and the skills to assist others in need.  I remembered the time on our honeymoon when our neighbor’s husband became severely sick and there were no doctors on the small island.  Or the time my preschool student began vomiting for no apparent reason. The time when I was on a ski trip with a few friends and a girl broke her arm.  Those events made me feel so helpless.  That day on the way into Tokyo, it became clear to me that I wanted to be a person who could help anyone, anywhere. 

My experiences in life have made me realize that borders exist not only between countries but in so many aspects of human life.  Society and culture creates borders of race, ethnicity, language and social economic status, while individuals build emotional borders.   These borders are at times more difficult to cross than the actual physical borders, however the skills and knowledge that nurses possess allow them to cross into areas where most are not able to reach.  For this reason, I would like to become a nurse.  In any situation, anywhere, and with any person, I aspire to provide assistance and comfort to the person in need.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation NCIN scholarship has not only given me a chance to embrace my fears and to accomplish my dream financially, but has also provided a network of support, encouragement and additional knowledge through the mentoring system.  Being able to regularly meet with my mentor and learn about the work she has done throughout her career and what she continues to do in the field has been inspirational and an added motivator.  With the aide of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholarship and its mentoring system, I look forward to crossing numerous borders in the lives of my patients, my community and the world around me.