Meet Kate, Recreation Therapist & Now BSN Graduate

Meet Kate, Recreation Therapist & Now BSN Graduate


I graduated from high school and decided I wanted to go to the farthest away school in Iowa I could get to, so I went
to the University of Iowa and had a great time there and chose recreation
therapy as my major…and I’ve loved recreation therapy, it’s – it’s great, I
just got to the point where I was running programs and doing a lot of
program development and I kind of capped out and there wasn’t a lot further I
could go, I just feel there’s more. In 2013, I came back from Florida and was going to spend a couple of months at home before taking a job in Texas as a
recreation therapist and was all set to go and then in January got sick and they
found I had a mass on my thyroid. That kind of put things to a halt and I was
going to be having surgery and there was a lot of doctors involved and so I was
in the hospital waiting for the results of the biopsy and the doctor walked in
and she had – um, there’s three different type types of thyroid cancer – and she had one
of them circled and she walked in with two other residents and plopped it on the
table and said “This is what you have.” When the nurse came in, and, uh, you know I, she could tell there was something wrong and I was like “I have cancer” and she sat
down and there wasn’t anything she could say, there wasn’t anything she could do
to, to treat anything at that moment, but she could sit down on the bed next to me
and just put her arm around me and I could just cry. You know, it was a really intense couple of days and the nurses were wonderful and caring and gentle and sweet and, um, I went into surgery thinking that I had cancer and I came out of surgery and they said that it was not cancer, it was
just a benign mass…but the – that nurse um, and what she looks like, um, will never leave me, ever. I started talking a lot about nursing and the endless opportunities that nursing provides Mercy College had a program that was
year-round so I could get my BSN which bachelor of science in nursing. There is a professor there who is
involved in a lot of research with Lakota people and she travels the Pine
Ridge all the time to work with that community. There was an opportunity for
me to go on that trip and I, hands down that wasn’t gonna even be an option, I
was gonna find a way to go. The socioeconomic status of this
reservation is shocking and so when we went there we got to see truly how they
live. I think the goal is for the students is
to understand that its more comfortable to not see the marginalized people and to
not notice the things that are happening and then, on the other side of it there’s
just this, such a rich culture and we got to, we got to do things that most people
will not have an opportunity to do. One of those was the Inipi, where we went through a “ceremonial sweat” is what they call it and it is such a spiritual
journey to be allowed to do that with them was a huge honor. So now I know that I can still provide
really great care to people who are distrustful who don’t have a lot of
resources and I can treat the whole person and not just a condition. There are opportunities that I’ve had in the last two years at Mercy College that I
haven’t had academically or professionally ever and there are some
professors at Mercy College that are so dedicated to the students and they will
provide opportunities that you may not ever get again. Some of those were the
Pine Ridge trip that I talked about, I am now certified to be able to go and help
out during a major catastrophe. I’m also able to educate other people on
what to do in those situations. We did a Pillowcase Project which is teaching
children how to pack a bag or a pillowcase full of the essential things
needed in case there was an emergency. I was chosen to be the commencement
speaker at graduation, which is crazy. Being part of MCANS, which is Mercy
College Association of Nursing Students, we went to the Capitol and to a state
conference where we presented our resolution which was on trauma-informed care. It was passed on a state level and that day I also decided I would run for
the Treasury position for the Iowa Association of Nursing Students, which is IANS, and was elected in, which was unexpected. We then went to a national conference in
Florida. There was two other schools including Mercy College that were
presenting resolutions on trauma-informed care and combined our
resolutions and it was passed on a national level. It was a lot of really hard work and
research and putting things together in a resolution and then to have it the passed was very
exhilarating and it was felt very…it was a great accomplishment. My name is Kate and I just graduated from Mercy College of Health Sciences with my bachelor’s in nursing.

One thought on “Meet Kate, Recreation Therapist & Now BSN Graduate”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *