A Passion for Nursing

A Passion for Nursing

A. ParkerAmy Parker says that the position she landed in a medical and surgical unit at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis is her “dream job.” Parker, a 2007 Saint Mary’s graduate who grew up in Munster, Indiana, says that she began to consider nursing as a profession back in high school.

“That decision was solidified during my first year at Saint Mary’s, when my mother died of cancer,” she says. “It was then that I began to feel a real passion for nursing. During my mother’s illness, I was able to see both the positives and negatives in the nursing care she received. That experience, along with my clinical rotations, has helped me to begin to build the foundation of nursing care I hope to provide to all my patients.”

Parker applied for the job at Riley during senior year as part of her Nursing Leadership class. After a day of nerve-wracking interviews, she was offered a position caring for children on Riley’s medical/surgical unit and accepted immediately. Just 10 days after graduation, she started her new job.

While her new schedule isn’t a dream, Parker is determined to make it work. Like many new nurses, she will have the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, three days a week and every third weekend. That will still leave time for interests like softball, which she loved in high school but gave up in college, and for friends and family. Parker’s younger sister will begin college in Indianapolis this fall, and Parker succeeded in convincing two of her three Saint Mary’s roommates—Amber Steury and Julie Strong—to take nursing jobs in Indianapolis. “It’ll be a great support system,” she says.

Parker believes her faith will also sustain her through the challenges ahead. The Saint Mary’s nursing program is distinctive in that it encourages students to develop not only professionally but spiritually before beginning their careers. At an emotional ceremony held annually in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, graduating nurses receive a pin symbolizing their service to humanity. Members of the nursing faculty bless the students’ hands, urging them to “bring healing and hope to all whom you touch.”

The ritual was meaningful to Parker, who says, “At Saint Mary’s, the spiritual and therapeutic side of things is always integrated. That’s something I’ll never lose.”