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Spring 2023 Winner of the Nursing & Pharmacy Student Scholarship

Joy Slaughter

Attorneys Laura and Nathan Hatton are happy to provide financial support to Joy Slaughter as she continues her nursing education at Allen College. From her essay, you learn of Joy's drive and compassion for the healthcare field and how the pandemic motivated her to make a difference. We know Joy will continue to succeed as she continues her academic pursuits.

Joy Slaughter

Read Joy's Essay:

At 13 years old, I donned my candy striper uniform. This set off a whirlwind that had me riding ambulances, working in a major metro trauma center, and flying in medevac helicopters before I was 18 years old. After marriage, I attended EMT school and pursued training in public health until the birth of our first child. While homeschooling my seven children, I returned to EMS and then pivoted toward psychology, focusing on existential psychotherapy, philosophical counseling, and stress relief coaching for first responders.

On February 25, 2020, I gathered my family and explained to them that the world was about to endure a civilization-shifting pandemic. As an Advanced EMT, I remained ready for call up by the state. I considered going to nursing school then, but I couldn't leave my children and their studies during such a tumultuous time nor risk bringing the virus home to so many people.

The world needed folks to step up. At first, I sewed stacks and stacks and stacks of masks for the local hospital, friends and family, and the local news teams, but as the shutdowns continued, I signed on with Partners in Health as a COVID-19 investigator to work on the Massachusetts Department of Health COVID-19 response from home, balancing teaching and work.

With the advent of the pandemic, I answered the call, but I wish to do more. I see the precarious nature of our healthcare system, and the 13-year-old candy striper within me who dreamed of being a nurse smiles and says, “Now is my time."

There are two nursing programs in my area. One is a community college that offers a CNA to LPN to RN progression; however, the program is unaccredited, instruction takes place primarily online, and clinicals are performed at a long-term care facility an hours' drive away. Allen College, the program I chose, is an accredited, traditional RN/BSN program based at the local hospital. It is accredited, rigorous, and the professors are actively and intensely involved in training. Clinicals take place at the hospital which is a reasonable drive from home. The only drawback is the cost.

I want to explore the different areas of nursing and how they work in a post-COVID world. Clinical rotations will play a large role in this exploration. I suspect I will always be drawn to critical care, but I relate to it differently than I did before. I would like to find a place where I can be challenged, see the rewards of my work, and enjoy a healthy workplace culture.

Regardless of where I go, I hope to develop deeper empathy and compassion by keeping current, being curious about people and systems, and being honest about what I uncover in myself and the environment around me. True success is not found in jobs, bank accounts, social status, or degrees, but in whether we continue to maintain an open mind, to learn from those around us, and remain sensitive and responsive to the suffering of others.

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