Victoria Garrard

August 2013
Class of 2013


I believe this about nursing..."Nursing is life."

My initial responses to the question, “Why nursing?” were related to the benefits of a career of lifetime learning, advancement opportunities, job flexibility, and helping those in need. I wish to contribute to musculoskeletal nursing research. I am Vietnamese and Caucasian, both of which are ethnicities at risk for osteoporosis and bone diseases. As the diversity of the nation expands, it is necessary to address populations at risk and screen and treat accordingly. I intend to contribute to the research and lifestyle changes that will help improve bone and muscle health.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Scholarship has provided me the opportunity to experience nursing and attend one of the top institutions in the country. My financial burden has been lessened with the aid I have received from RWJF. By using the RWJF funds for tuition, I was able to continue to work at Under Armour in Bethesda, MD and pay for gas to commute to school, my phone and car insurance bills. I am proud to have been chosen as a student nurse to represent what it means to be a RWJF scholar which involves being culturally, clinically, and critically competent.

After having completed a year of education, my reasons for nursing are more comprehensive. I was rewarded with lifelong relationships, skills and a new thirst for knowledge. Nursing has transformed my perspectives and become a way of life. It has broadened my outlook of those in need of medical and/or surgical health care. It has made evident the overlap between all areas of nursing. I have learned to be patient and to educate in a manner appropriate to various ages and educational levels. I have become more aware of the need to integrate the family into nursing care. Family-centered care is apparent in pediatrics, obstetric and mother-baby nursing, however, must also be prioritized in areas such as medical-surgical care, among others.

An interaction that inspired me to continue with nursing as a career is as follows. During a pediatric emergency department (ED) shift I encountered a newly admitted teen. This patient was the first juvenile delinquent patient I cared for. The patient admitted with a sliced lip from a fight. The patient had only a parole officer by the bedside. Although the patient tried to act tough throughout the hospitalization, when it came time for stitches, I felt inclined to offer a hand to be held during the procedure. The patient slowly reached out and a tear flowed down his cheek as he whispered, “thanks” and smiled as best he could. In this situation neither medical resident nor parole officer offered comfort. Nursing is not only about the “big” things but, through didactic education and hands-on clinical experience nurses are able to interact at a level so intimate that it is sometimes the littlest things that provide the rapport, healing, and education to a patient’s health care experience.