Valerie Kneece

July 2013
Class of 2014


I believe this about nursing... "It is for the compassionate."

I believe this about nursing…it is for the compassionate. It is for the soul-stirring revolutionaries that want to make an impact. I chose nursing because it is an altruistic profession. It is about striving for equal, fair, and compassionate care for all humanity. Care that does not discriminate by age, color, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. Everyone deserves the same level of attention and care. Nurses must put aside their preconceived notions and confront their prejudices to provide the best level of care. They must deal with that delicate balance of life and death that is a constant. It offers perspective. Bearing witness to all moments: the new mother delivering her first child, a mother of four with a lump in her breast, the car accident victim, the failed suicide attempt, a toddler with a fever. Who is there for them when they are at their most vulnerable? The nurse. The nurse walks onto the floor each day not knowing how the day will go. But the unknown is something to relish. It’s that gritty and strange quintessence of life that makes it worth living.

A nurse cares for someone at their most vulnerable. Trust and confidentiality are paramount. A patient must be able to trust the person that is feeding and bathing them. Without this base level of trust established, you cannot move forward with treatment. A patient who does not trust you will not tell you when something is awry. Empathy and compassion foster trust. Empathy and compassion keep people alive.

Growing up in a rural medically-underserved area, I understand the frustrations of those who are uninsured, underinsured, and unsure. I have felt the pain of four hour waits at a free clinic acutely and know that a chart or insurance forms do not tell a person’s whole story and that a judgmental nurse cannot foster a trusting relationship with his or her patient. I decided to become a nurse because I want to help the very same areas that I grew up in. I want to fill in the voids on our healthcare map. The Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Scholarship reaffirmed my decision to go into nursing. With it I was able to focus on school and get the most out of my education so I can provide the highest quality care for my patients.

Some days will be quiet, some days will be messy, some days you will love your job and some days you will cry. The comfort is that each day makes an impact. Each day, each shift, you matter to someone. You’re a lifeline and a first line of defense. You will learn to ebb and flow with the tide of patients that come under your wing. Nurses provide help. Nurses provide hope. And nurses do it every day without fail. Nursing is for the compassionate.