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Three Healthy, Calorie-Free Reasons to Select Me Little did I know at the time, my first experience with nursing occurred when I learned to count calories in the sixth grade. It was a slightly misguided attempt to maximize my health. This small understanding of what it means to seek health started the bit of snow rolling that began to collect a bit more snow and a bit more, and it took rolling through much more experience and exploration to turn this tiny bit of snow into the more comprehensive understanding of health, nutrition and nursing that I have today – the large snowball.

I’m not going to talk about calories now. The snowball has grown much larger than that, growing much as the field of nursing has grown: to encompass the entirety of health, healing and living a full life. I’m going to give a picture of my background through three important issues beyond the operating room but central to the field of nursing: cultural self-awareness, human presence (care), and critical thinking. These three issues serve as springboards for describing my own preparation for the study and work of becoming a nurse, as well as highlighting my educational goals and career plans.

Nursing, being about the care of humankind, will expose me to an endless variation on cultural attitudes. One of my earlier exposures to cultural conflict happened at the age of 18, when I traveled to Morocco. The first thing that I will remember should I ever travel again to a Muslim country is not to dye my hair blond for the trip. I missed this bit of advice in the guidebook. During my stay in Morocco, I experienced first hand the influence of societal constructs of gender on the shaping of personal identity. The way I was treated was not only based on the expression of my gender but also strongly affected how I felt about myself.

While I was lying on a beach, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, a group of elementary-aged boys took to throwing bits of cow dung in my direction. At other times, though I was clearly in a committed relationship with my male traveling companion, nearby men would stare at me for minutes at a time, looking me up and down from head to toe. During these situations, I felt exposed and vulnerable. At the time, I reacted by immediately leaving the country, but the experience stayed with me and has since been a significant influence on my study of women’s issues within my own and other cultures. I have consciously pened the dialogue on these issues with others and within myself, through class, writing, work and informal conversation. I took college classes in women’s studies and in women and communication. My research paper in graduate school writing theory was based on writer’s block as connected to gender. I became an advocate for a local domestic abuse hotline, and I marched for Take Back the Night. My strong concern for women’s rights carries over to this day in my decision to enter the nursing field both to be of practical support in women’s health as well as in honor and devotion to the feminine ethic of care.

Additionally, my experience in Morocco and others like it have helped to give me awareness of my own core values and cultural bias, as well as sensitivity to the wide diversity of culture that exists from next door to across the world and will certainly show up in the world of nursing. Nurses wear a variety of hats. A nurse may be a pain manager, a teacher, an advocate, direct care support, a counselor/case manager or a leader, for starters. The nurse provides a bridge: between the patient and the health care system, the patient and the doctor, the community and the health care facility.

In essence, nurses must provide the human touch while remaining in integrity with the medical system they represent. My professional, academic and life experiences have prepared me to do this. I have extensive experience within the human services; my professional roles have ranged from educator in one-on-one and group settings (as a tutor, preschool teacher, and after-school program leader) to mental health counselor to daily living support for people with disabilities. I have worked in a range of care environments, from government-run to alternative community to private business.

Furthermore, five years of college, including study in the sciences and psychology, as well as yoga teacher training, have prepared me for the academic study needed to succeed in nursing school and the continuing education necessary to be a quality professional in the field. Finally, my own personal challenges with reproductive health and hormonal issues have taken me through the ins and outs of both the mainstream and alternative health care worlds and energized my interest in holistic nursing.

I am devoted to the full RN track, and chose a bachelor’s program at Mesa State because of the thoroughness and depth of the curriculum, which I believe will provide the most solid and well-rounded understanding of what it means to be a nurse. Zooming in on my work in the human services, and how it called upon my role as a critical thinker, I will describe a specific scenario. As a case manager at an acute treatment unit for clients with mental illness, I was called upon to help certain clients with their discharge plans (also called relapse prevention plans).

I remember a particular client, a man in his sixties who complained primarily of depression and suicidal thoughts. The process of completing his discharge plan involved a number of critical thinking skills. I needed to determine the best way to communicate with him from moment to moment, taking into account such factors as his emotional responses to my approach, the relapse prevention plan template, and time constraints. A major component of the plan’s development included naming warning signs of relapse and skills for coping.

To help the client complete this component, I needed to ask pertinent questions, utilize my knowledge of cognitive behavioral therapy, and incorporate relevant reports of the client’s progress in and outside the facility. This process was a great experience in using structured critical thinking while allowing room for the humanistic approach. In conclusion, I hope this essay has given you an effective glimpse into my background to provide a picture of cultural self-awareness, care, and critical thinking. I am committed to nursing for its heart center, for its intellectual rigor, and for all I know it will teach me about being human.

Though I have a previous Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Humanities, this comprehensive education along with my increased life experience was necessary and instrumental in solidifying my inner certainty that Nursing is the path for me. Since Nursing is often a post-baccalaureate degree, I hope that this element of my background will be less a deterrent than a back-up of my eligibility. Finally – I will let the numbers talk in this case – my financial need is real. Please give me your trust and support by awarding me this scholarship and I will make it my highest priority to uphold it by becoming the best registered nurse I can be.

STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES/RECOGNITION/AWARDS/COMMUNITY SERVICE COUNSELING AND TEACHING January 2009 to Present. Pedicab Driver Rocky Mountain Pedicabs, Denver, CO April 2008 to August 2008. Domestic Abuse Hotline Volunteer Alternative Horizons, Durango, CO Accomplishments and experiences: Completed a 2 week training on the resources and skills available to help survivors of domestic abuse. Counseled callers over the phone and referred them to appropriate resources. Reference: Stacy Kellog (970) 247-4374 February 2008 to August 2008 Case Manager Southwest Mental Health Center, Durango, CO

Acute Treatment Unit Accomplishments and experiences: Facilitated daily group therapy. Provided one-on-one case-management regarding relapse prevention, goal-setting, and outpatient care. Kept continual detailed record of clients on the unit. Provided entrance and exit counseling. References: Linda Lute, Executive Vice President/Chief Clinical Officer (970) 247-1222 x108 Marian Riggert, Head Nurse (970) 403-0182 January 2008 to August 2008. Tutor (Intermediate Algebra, Project Management, Composition, Business Statistics) Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO Accomplishments and experiences:

Tutored four students, all of whom improved their grades, and one who started with a D grade and ended with a B. Developed session plans. Kept detailed records of progress. Reference: Katie Sparks (970) 247-7687 January 2008 to August 2008. Tutor (Math) Achievement Unlimited. Durango, CO. Accomplishments and experiences: Tutored two fifth-grade students in fifth grade-level math. Students learned specific skills that helped them achieve in their classes, including long-division and skills in fractions. Reference: Linda Gerral January 2008 to Present. Preschool Teacher – on call River Mist, Durango, CO Accomplishments and experiences:

Acted as group leader, teacher and care-taker for groups of an average of five toddlers or 10 preschool aged children. Reference: Jennifer (970) 385-4098 May 2007 to October 2007. Lifeguard and Community Representative The Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY Accomplishment and experiences: Provided front-line connection with Omega participants/consumers, facilitating their integration into the community. Led children’s activities. Kitchen prep work. Lifeguard. Participated in ongoing community meetings. Reference: Toni Stinopli (845) 266-4444 x305 January 2007 to May 2007. Kidtime Site-Director Durango 9-R, Durango, CO

Oversaw inventory, supply ordering, activity design and implementation, and staff training. Coordinated with school staff to arrange room and resource availability. Interfaced with parents and staff. Provided disciplinary structure. Maintained and responded to safety and health concerns. Reference: Mary Goolsby (970) 247-5411 x1102 Summer 2006. Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer Durango, CO Reference: Melinda Loyst (970) 749-1993 April 2006 to July 2006. Childcare Provider Durango, CO Accomplishments: Provided early childhood education to a three-year-old boy; subjects include: math, art, outdoor skills, and English language.

Provided emotional support and basic needs care to child. Reference: Nancy (970) 382-7661 Winter 2005 to 2006. Volunteer Snowboard Instructor Adaptive Sports Association Accomplishments and experience: Taught snowboarding to people with disabilities. Reference: Ann Marie 970- 385-2163 (after Nov 15th) or 970-259-0374 (before Nov 15th) September 2005. Childcare Volunteer. Canyonlands Dance Retreat, Canyonlands, UT. Accomplishments: Developed and implemented daily activities for a group of eight children aged five to 14. Responsible for supervision of the group.

Cooperated with parents to ensure the best program for and treatment of the children. Reference: Martin Model 970-533-7816 May 2005 to August 2005. Camp Counselor / Arts and Crafts Instructor / Yoga Instructor Island Lake Camp, Starrucca, PA. Accomplishments: Acted as parent, counselor, friend, teacher, mentor, roommate, and disciplinarian of a group of fourteen 14-year-old girls. Designed, implemented, and maintained a curriculum for six three-week-long daily classes – Yoga, Batik, Bookmaking, Jewelry, Paper crafts, and Stuffed-Animal-Making. Reference: Tiffaney Benson (970) 222-2478 2001 to 2004.

Direct Support Technician. Mosaic, Fort Collins, CO. Accomplishments: Provided physical and emotional guidance and support and taught life skills to people with disabilities. Planned and implemented activities and daily schedules for consumers. Mediated disputes among consumers. Monitored with detail the behaviors of consumers. Administered medication and kept detailed logs of medication intake and reactions. Reference: Mosaic ( 970) 223-1751 2000. Youth-Belay Volunteer. Animas City Rock Gym, Durango, CO Accomplishments: Belayed and guided youth as they tackled indoor rock-climbing walls.

Reference: Anne-Britt WRITING AND RESEARCH August 2004 to May 2005. Editorial Assistant. Colorado Review, Fort Collins, CO Accomplishments and experience: Proofreading, copyediting, reviewed submissions for and determined acceptance. Reference: Stephanie G’Schwind (970) 491-5449 2001 to 2005. Research Assistant. Colorado State University Journalism Dept. , Fort Collins, CO Accomplishments: Worked with a team to develop and implement a mass-communications-research coding scheme studying the coverage of health issues by television, print, and internet media.

Performed general office clerical duties including use of a variety of computer programs and office equipment. Trained new employees on use of computer and office equipment and methods of office administration, research, and data organization. Wrote a user-guide for the office scanner. Tracked files and data for three research projects.

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