By Pele Solell
I came to Emory unexpectedly, after visiting Oxford College and knowing that the unique place, people and environment would help me develop a liberal arts background for the next two years. I knew that nursing school would hand me my schedule, but I wanted to explore a diverse course curriculum before following a standard. My experiences at Oxford, from taking a course in conjunction with incarcerated women to teaching English as a Second Language, unknowingly altered the path of my nursing education and future career.
I thought I would be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, but am now embarking on a path to move away from the clinical side. Instead, I aspire to use my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to best prepare myself as a leader in health care, through multidisciplinary collaboration at the intersection of human rights and global health.
It is a bit daunting to diverge from the ‘norm’ of being a clinically-focused nurse while many of my peers are applying for residencies, but my mentors and experiences at the School of Nursing have paved the way for my passions. Being able to engage with students from all paths as an Ambassador and work-study student for the Admissions office demonstrates the varying backgrounds people bring to nursing. My Nursing for Social Change class presents theory as a tool for addressing systems and structures in health care. And the faculty in the Lillian Carter Center support innovative tracks at multiple crossroads of global health and nursing.
I wish I had realized earlier that the beginning of one’s nursing career could be more than clinical: the wonderful nurse researchers, leaders, advocates, policy makers and other professionals at the School of Nursing prove nursing’s latitude and forefront in social change. I hope prospective, current and future students find a path that invigorates them to advance what it means to be a nurse.