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One of the top award winners of the CIA Medical 2021 Scholarship honoring healthcare heroes is Lindy Mitchell, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student studying AT Still University.
Lindy’s winning essay focuses on Maria, the nurse who mentored her and inspired her to pursue her master’s in nursing education.
Lindy’s story is a touching example of how a seasoned medical professional nurtures the next generation of healthcare workers.
CIA Medical is proud to present Lindy’s 2021 Scholarship Award winning essay on the nurse who positively impacted her career.
Maria the Nurse
An essay by Lindy Mitchell
August 2008 I was a final semester nursing student. I had stumbled into nursing because of my love of the sciences and my love of people. I had no idea where I wanted to go with my career, where to apply and even how to start. The thought of taking my NCLEX for my nursing license was taking up so much space in my brain and inducing so much anxiety that I did not know if I could do this thing called nursing. I was set to start my last clinical rotation and was assigned to the neonatal intensive care unit because I voiced that babies did not scare me. Many of my classmates were completely against going to this unit and wanted the adrenaline rush of the adult intensive care units, especially cardiac.
I showed up at 6am to the unit bright eyed and nervous. The night shift nurse was grumpy and tired after a night with several admissions. She taught me how to scrub in and where to put my bag. Then she not very gently told me to keep my hands off the equipment. I began to feel a little dejected and thought that I should have tried harder to get into a different rotation. I would be in this unit every Thursday and Friday for 9 weeks; I began to feel like crying inside. Then day shift arrived, and my world changed. Maria, RN showed up to get report. Maria saw me waiting patiently for anyone to notice me. Maria welcomed me to the unit and gave me a tour and an explanation of all of the equipment in use. Then she did something that I now is very rare, she let me touch the baby and perform an assessment. This baby was on a conventional ventilator and was weaning support to go to CPAP, this child had a central line and it seemed he had wires and tubes coming out everywhere. I was so nervous!
Maria very empathetically told me, “I’m here, I won’t let anything happen, just start with taking the baby’s vital signs.” With shaking hands, I took his blood pressure and temperature. Then listened to him with her tiny stethoscope. The day flew by and this was the best clinical day that I had so far. (Just for some perspective, in the rotation before this my preceptor laughed after a patient assaulted me.) When the day was over Maria asked if I would be back, when I told her I would be she was thrilled. I was blown away by her kindness. The next day she arranged a different assignment for us so that I would be able to do more of the patient care.
I came to find out that Maria after the second day with me traded shifts and got herself on the schedule every Thursday and Friday for the rest of my rotation. Maria was kind and gentle and made me feel safe learning and asking questions. She told me she knew that I belonged in the unit. In week 4 she introduced me to the director and had the unit director observe me complete an assessment on a baby. She then made sure that I saw the director every shift after that. I didn’t realize that this was so that Maria could guarantee that I was hired on the unit.
During my 16th shift on the unit Maria completed a mock interview with me. I thought she was just being kind and helping a student prepare, but that night after I got home, I had a message on my voicemail from the unit director informing me that she would be putting out the ad for a new graduate nurse on Monday and expected to see my application in the pile. I enthusiastically applied for the job Monday morning. Thursday took forever to come, but on Thursday morning Maria was there smiling and waiting for me. She told me that I would be requested in the director’s office that morning. I was indeed summoned by the director to my job interview! Maria had helped me tremendously in preparing for this interview, but what I did not know was that Maria was helping me the whole time with the director observing my assessments. The director informed me that my interview was a formality because I had already proved myself to everyone on day shift. I was the first one in my class to have a job offer and I received that offer on my 23rd birthday. I have Maria to thank for that.
Maria was a coworker of mine for 7 years, she inspired me to become a nurse educator and she is the reason I pursued my master’s in nursing education and now my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Maria as a charge nurse assigned me all the new graduate nurses to orient after my first year because she recognized the joy, I found in bringing these new graduates into our unit and my love of nurturing them. Maria is a beloved friend of mine and one of the best nurses I know. She is humble, kind and gives herself to all the families she takes care of. I am crying with joy at all the fond memories that I have of Maria as I write this. Maria is an exceptional human being; she has multiple sclerosis which causes her pain every day and yet she looks at her disease as something to make her stronger. I never realized how much of her it took to be as nurturing and as kind and giving as she is until a few years ago, when after a very busy and sad shift with a loss of an infant after a code she was unable to stand.
Maria is the type of nurse I strive to be, one that is giving, patient and empathetic to everyone. I try to emulate her kindness and hardworking attitude every day, and if I am worthy someday maybe another nurse will write something like this about me.
About the Author: Lindy Mitchell
Lindy Mitchell has been an RN for 12 years and is a DNP student. She has been a nurse educator in a bachelor of science in nursing program for 3 years. Lindy’s goals are advance her education so that she can have a bigger impact in nursing education and help new nurses enter the profession and be ready for the healthcare system.
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