Rebecca Harren

May 2010
Class of 2010


I believe this about nursing…“Nursing is strong and powerful foundation upon which the medical system stands.”

Nurses are the hands on caretakers of patients. I believe that nurses can make positive differences in people’s day and have the ability to change, in one moment, the outlook for which a patient regards his or her care. I began to contemplate a career in nursing when I was working as a patient advocate in a women’s health center. I enjoyed the patient interaction at my position there. People have so much life to share and so many emotional and physical wounds to heal. I enjoyed helping them on their journey and learning along the way. At this time, I felt I wanted to do more, to become more involved in patient care.

At my position, I also experienced another side of health care – a side that had desensitized, disgruntled care that was about task completion, not about patient-centered care. This kind of patient care was more about providers and their feelings and less about the patients’ experiences and concerns. I saw how this affected people at their most vulnerable times, and it was disappointing. I decided to go back to school and be that difference in nursing - to be someone who supported patients and advocated for them in a positive, patient-centered way. I wanted to be the nurse that was a bright, caring and empathetic difference. I wanted my patients at the end of the day to think about me and smile. I wanted to give them a moment of kindness at the times when they are scared and vulnerable. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) gave me the key to that locked door. This foundation has provided me with the start-up opportunity to quit my job and pursue my dream of nursing.

Now, almost a year from starting my nursing program, I think back to how I felt the empowerment of opportunity and seized it. I have had so many positive experiences to learn and provide competent and compassionate patient care. This program has afforded me with many opportunities for growth. It has also provided me with the ability to give something back to my community. With only two semesters left, I am almost at the end of my schooling and I couldn’t have started this journey without the help of RWJF and the desire to make a small difference in the lives of many!