For some nursing students, the choice to enter the medical field is a practical one.
But for sophomore nursing major Ali Dennis, a miracle inspired her difficult career path.
When Crusaders declare a nursing major, they dedicate endless hours to studying and practical application inside and outside of the classroom. When Dennis feels overwhelmed, she reminds herself of her sister Kylie’s fight against the odds.
“My little sister and I are 13 years apart. She was born unexpectedly with Down syndrome and heart problems. That turned my whole world upside down. She had open-heart surgery, and my parents let me see her the next day. That was the defining moment for me,” she said.
The first time Dennis looked in on her new sister, she knew she wanted to be a nurse and help babies like Kylie.
“When I saw the cold room with Kylie lying in a glass box engulfed in wires… seeing the impact the doctors and nurses had on her so that she could have a life… seeing all of that made me view nursing as more than medicine. We wouldn’t have my sister without the doctors, nurses, therapists and everyone. I want to be a part of that same happiness with other families one day.”
Sophomore clinical lab science and nursing double major Kia Torres moved from Puerto Rico to pursue her dreams of working in pediatrics.
“My sophomore year of high school, my mom started asking me to look at colleges in Puerto Rico. Nothing there seemed to fit what I was looking for, so I searched online for good nursing schools and found that Texas (has) one of the best. Baylor College of Medicine really caught my eye, so we started looking at moving to the U.S.,” Torres said.
She received full support from her family and moved from her native island to the states.
“My uncle was stationed at Fort Hood, so he offered to let us stay with him. It worked out really well when we decided to move. I was able to transfer to a high school in Killeen mid-semester,” she said.
After visiting several schools, Torres stepped onto the UMHB campus and fell in love with the environment.
“It’s all worked out so well …. I want to go to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and get my certification. I know that I will be able to work with children in some way because of my decision to move to the states,” she said.
Sophomore Sarah Mackie’s personal experiences guided her into the health field.
“My sophomore year, I sprained my ankle really bad and was around doctors and nurses a lot. I was able to see how things worked in the hospital. Then after that, there were so many times that I wanted to help people I saw that were hurt. That’s when I started really considering the career.”
For many students, studying nursing is more than academics. Behind the scrubs, Crusaders work hard for the people they love and the dreams they aspire to.
Dennis said, “My sister changed my whole life. My heart is 50 times bigger since she was born. Kylie is the most beautiful thing in my whole world. She is so happy that if I’m having a bad day, I can call her.”
Dennis wants to care for others in the same way she looks after her younger sister.
She said, “She provides so much strength for me. It’s because of her that I have the drive to help other people.”