Nathan Hatch

October 2014
Class of 2014


 I believe this about nursing...

Pulling onto the tarmac after a two-hour journey through the mountains, I turn to my companion with whom I’ve been working for the last three months. Her energy and dedication have had a huge influence in transforming the Health Centre in the tiny village where the Peace Corps posted me for my assignment. I ask her in Swahili a question that has been nagging me: “Why here specifically, Esther? You could be working anywhere in Kuyu-land, or in Nairobi at any of the best hospitals. Why the dispensary? Why Ngorika?” She turns to me calmly, smiles and answers: “They need me. Yes, I could have gone anywhere. I chose and cared for any number of sick or injured people, but that is all I would be doing -- mending, fixing. As a nurse, I want to heal. In Ngorika, I can do that. I can mend people’s bodies, but I can also mend the system broken by corruption. I can heal the hearts damaged by tribalism. Here, I can also mend the soul. Who else is there but me?”

    Never did I expect one woman to change me and transform so much of my outlook on medicine.  For the community Esther serves, she truly embodies Gandhi’s proverb: “be the change.” My experience working with her not only inspired me to pursue a career in nursing, but also provided me a model for understanding the importance that nursing provides linking health care and communities.

    I have imagined many possible goals for myself as a nurse. Foremost among these is opening a clinic to serve a community without easy access to health care.  Having witnessed Esther’s transformation of a run-down, half-working dispensary into a thriving centerpiece of the town in her native Kenya, I am inspired to do the work necessary to be part of creating something similar in the United States. If the opportunity arises to travel again, I would also be eager to continue working overseas.