Michael Palazzo

November 2014
Class of 2014


I believe this about nursing… “Nurses are the heart of healthcare and the hospitality of hospitals.”

Life does not always go as planned and it is not always easy or fair, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, second chances are possible and they can be extremely rewarding. I know all about giving second chances and recently, thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I have been fortunate enough to receive a second chance.

The fall of 2003 was an unforgettable time in my life. I was a sophomore in college and I traveled home every weekend to spend time with my friend, Brian, who was dying from cystic fibrosis. I provided him with as much comfort as I could while he waited for a transplant. When the likelihood of him receiving a transplant grew bleaker and his death seemed eminent, I displayed my true colors by participating in a living donor lung transplant. By doing so, I helped give Brian a second chance at life.

After a long and complicated recovery, I returned to college and earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Teaching was a rewarding career and I expected my successes to result in a tenured position. Instead, after four years, I found myself laid off – the product of economic downsizing in school districts nationwide. I was frustrated by this occurrence and I honestly did not know what my future held for me at that time. But through the support of my family, they helped me realize the positive impact I could have on people if I applied my intelligence, kindness, and devotion to the field of nursing.

Convinced that I could not only excel as a nurse but that I could also be fulfilled with this career choice, I began to search for the best nursing programs in my area. Pace University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was the clear choice for me, but it came at a steep price – a price that would be difficult for me pay. Luckily, the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Scholarship came to my rescue and granted me a second chance at life by providing a substantial amount of money to use towards my education.
As a soon-to-be graduate and future nurse, I cannot thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation enough for enabling me to turn my goal of becoming a nurse into a reality. I am eager to enter the workforce and make a difference in the lives of many people, and I am also excited to continue my education in the future to advance my skillset in the field of nursing.