Leslie K. Stembridge

September 2013
Class of 2014


I believe this about nursing... "Nursing is caring for an individual not as your patient, but as your family."

Since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of being a nurse; from putting Band-Aids on my bears to having an imaginary hospital; nursing has always been a passion. Shortly after graduating from college, my family and I were informed that my 84 year old grandmother was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. I really didn’t know how to digest the information, mainly because I was in shock about it. I remember my grandmother as outspoken, physically active, and the heart of the family. It was now time for someone to take care of her. Knowing that her illness would continue to deteriorate, I put my life on hold to care for her and make sure she received the proper care. I was responsible for preparing her meals, bathing, clothing, administering daily medicine, and implementing activities such as writing, reading, and coloring to strengthen her cognitive skills. Every day I completed these tasks for my grandmother, it gave me the feeling of gracious nurturing that I would want other people to receive if they were sick or have a physical/mental illness. People want to have a sense of relief leaving their loved ones in the hospital and I want to be that person that will assure them that their loved one is in great hands.

Caring for my grandmother finalized my decision to return to college and obtain my degree in nursing. My grandmother always motivated me to strive for the best and I will do just that in her honor. During my two year hiatus, I was unemployed and struggled to pay bills. I had to ask family and friends to help with maintaining my living needs, which was extremely depressing and stressful. Being awarded The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholarship (RWJF) has greatly helped in paying for the cost of tuition, uniforms, books, and supplies. Nursing school is not cheap and being awarded the scholarship will make my collegiate journey as a nursing student more refreshing. Nursing enthralls me because I can fundamentally help people to heal and in turn pursue the things that give their life meaning.