Sierra Goff

November 2011
Class of 2012


I believe this about nursing..."Patients are not just another name on a list."

The single biggest influence in my life has come not from a book, song, nor any work of man, but from a young girl named, Kim. Kim has struggled in almost every aspect of her life, yet her determination, focus and accomplishments are the yardstick that I measure my past, present and future against.

At full term, a split second in utero caused a Prenatal Cerebral Infarct (or prenatal stroke). Vital portions of Kim’s brain that control numerous bodily functions would never properly develop. Kim is not some stranger in a medical journal; she is my cousin!

As a child, I didn’t understand Kim’s medical problems. Seeing the tubes and hearing her raspy voice made it terrifying to be near her, let alone hug or be held by her. Until the age of nine, Kim was unable to swallow food and received all necessary nutrition through a gastrostomy tube. When she reached eleven years, she had a tracheal tube inserted which essentially saved Kim from drowning in her own saliva. Spending time with my cousin revealed Kim’s wonderful personality and loving nature. I soon realized that being different from others was not a bad thing; in Kim’s eyes, I was different!

To this day, Kim has excelled in her education, social life, and physical state. Although she still has physical disadvantages, Kim no longer needs constant attention, feeding tubes, or complicated medical equipment. She has altered my life’s perspective and stirred a positive change in myself, physically and mentally. Kim has taught me to be grateful for the life I possess, accept people for who they are, and face everyday obstacles head-on. Unexpectedly, Kim’s trauma at birth was my inspiration for achieving success and entering the field of nursing.

I desire to become a pediatric nurse to help people such as Kim. But it’s not enough to simply help people overcome their illnesses or medical struggles; I want to interact with those who are suffering. I am passionate to use the gifts and abilities that I was graciously blessed with, and I desire to bless others. I want my patients to understand that they are not just another name on a list; they are real people with real pains, real fears, and real concerns that I truly care about.  I desire to provide extra strength—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—to those who are in a time of weakness. I admire the doctors and nurses who stuck by Kim 100% even when all odds were against her. The nursing field is not easy; things don’t always go the way one would hope for. I am confident, however, that I am ready for the physical, mental, and emotional challenges ahead. Along with the Robert Wood Johnson Scholarship, I too hope to contribute to the diversity, knowledge, and excellence in the field of nursing. In the end, I know that the blessings of a nursing career will far outweigh the difficulties. It is through those difficulties, however, that we are shaped and molded.