Sunday, June 12, 2016

Next stop...

Next stop...UCSF for the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program and a Masters degree. I am ecstatic, over the moon, scared, wondering how I'm going to do this...but I will.  I have the determination to make it happen.  Plus, I have a loving and supportive family to get me through it.  We have come so far from the beginning of the journey and it drives me to continue sharing, continue fighting, and continue doing what I can to help stop childhood cancer.
Here is the essay I wrote for my application.  I'm sharing this with you all because....well, I've been trying to share as much as I can of this journey.  It's been a crazy experience and one that has brought me so much awareness.  I'm hoping it has brought awareness to everyone reading it.  I'm also asking for funding assistance for my education.  This is not easy to all.  I don't even like it.  I will ask for funding for pediatric cancer until the cows come home.   But to do it for myself, not so much.  I hope I've compelled enough people to believe in our story, our fight and the continuation of me, as a nurse, to assist those families doing something I love to do.  So, here goes....  my funding page is:
"I knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue a career in the field of nursing.  Growing up with three role models in my life, my mother being a nurse practitioner, my father being a physician and my stepfather, a dentist, I was inspired by the science of nursing and medicine.  Not only was I influenced with these career paths, I was also inspired by my families commitment to the underserved.  Through this passion, I developed my own dedication to serving the underserved and pursued many activities volunteering to care for vulnerable and diverse populations.  Continuing my nursing education as a nurse practitioner after my undergraduate studies in an area working with underserved populations meant acquiring further skills, gaining more knowledge and becoming more autonomous in my field of choice.  This has been a continuous goal of mine since I chose nursing as a career.
Early in my schooling, my cumulative GPA reflects early academic challenges that I worked relentlessly to overcome.  Since my first years as an undergraduate, I evolved and developed excellent study habits as I prepared for completion of my nursing degree.  Through work in nursing school and continuing on to advanced graduate studies at San Jose State, I maintained an excellent GPA.  I’ve learned lifelong study skills that will assist me with my future endeavor as a successful graduate student. 
My experience as a registered nurse has been more than gratifying.  I spent my first few years in emergency/trauma departments including work with the pediatric population, which taught me not only physical aspects of treating my patient but psychological aspects in treating the entire family.   I also learned to recognize the unique needs of children and families of impoverished backgrounds.  This experience I have been able to carry throughout me in my practice. In the setting of critical situations, I’ve gained the experience to be flexible, a quick learner adapting to difficult situations, and enjoy the challenge of diverse situations.  Although I love the nursing field, I felt it necessary to make a change and try a new setting through acquiring my real estate license. This was a successful venture learning new business skills and conducting real estate transactions. Although I enjoyed the challenge, nursing was my calling and I returned to start my professional development in the intensive care unit.
Initially, my goal was to become a family nurse practitioner and work in a clinic to serve a diverse and vulnerable population.  I started graduate work two separate times to realize this goal but life had other plans for me.  My 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.  Nothing can prepare one for this journey but luckily, the outcome has been positive.  At the moment of my daughter’s diagnosis to the time of finishing treatment, everything became uncomplicated.  I’ve been touched and inspired by pediatric oncology patients and the families I’ve encountered.  I finally realized my true potential and lifework for my nursing career to become an oncology pediatric nurse practitioner.   
Through my journey, I learned the disparity and vulnerability of the pediatric cancer population.  Children with cancer are considered a minority and therefore only receive 3.8% of government funding allocated to research.  With the help of other cancer parents, I started a 501©3 non-profit foundation to provide support and funding to pediatric cancer research.   This comes in the form of care packages called Hope Totes to newly diagnosed cancer families and funding pediatric research to local institutions including UCSF Benioff and Lucile Packard.  Our total has exceeded $93,000 in direct research funding.  I am proud to be the founder, Chief Executive Officer with a motivated Executive Board of Directors.  With all of these accomplishments, learning proficiency in Spanish is also high on my list.  Not only will I complete my statistics this upcoming semester, I will be evolving my skills in Spanish because this is an important aspect of providing accurate health to underserved populations.
Our foundation has been an important aspect to healing.  Now, it is time to take the next step and become proficient in this field in order to become an advocate and influential resource for children battling cancer as well as the families who travel this journey.  With my strengths being an achiever, a learner with a great desire to continuously improve my skills, and the ability to individualize people and situations, I will be successful in the pediatric nurse practitioner program and my future role as a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner.  I’ve proved to be resilient as a nursing student, a cancer mom, founder of a nonprofit organization, and overcome whatever challenges come my way. 
My professional goal has always been to attend the UCSF School of Nursing, known for dedication to the health care profession, serving the underserved and vulnerable populations, rigorous curriculum in mastering core nursing knowledge, and student support for success in the program.  I am confident that the program will advance my knowledge and skill to function as a highly competent pediatric nurse practitioner in the field of oncology delivering quality health to infants, children, and adolescents."