Sharlene DeMeule - Karen Cooper Scholarship Winner

I was nineteen when my grandmother passed away. This incredible woman had raised me from the day I was born (my mother had died during childbirth). During her last years, the roles were reversed, I had to be her caregiver. It was not easy, but, it was the least I could do for her after all she had done for me. That is when I realized that the healthcare field is where I belonged.

My first job was in a nursing home and it was affirmation that this is where I needed to be. I have been working as a Licensed Nursing Assistant for the past thirty-three years, the last twenty of which have been at Genesis Healthcare Center. It has been rewarding at times and stressful at others, yet, I could not imagine doing anything else. The smile on my residents faces in the morning when they see me makes it all worthwhile. Although I love being a nursing assistant, my real dream has always been to be a nurse. There is nothing like helping a patient feel better, but, as a nursing assistant I am limited as to what I am able to do. As a nurse, I will be able to provide more effective and efficient patient care. I have worked with many nurses that are compassionate and hardworking and have always admired their ability to assist in a patients' healing process or be there when someone passes. Twelve years ago, I became a Medication Nursing Assistant. Although this allows me to administer medications, I do not feel that I have reached my true potential.

I chose to raise my family instead of pursuing my career. A choice I would make all over again. Now that my three children are grown and on their own, it is time for me to do what I have always wanted, become a Registered Nurse. Although the decision to go to college now after graduating high school thirty-five years ago was nerve-wracking, I have found it to be the perfect choice. I have completed several General Education Courses at Lakes Region Community College and would like to graduate with a nursing degree. The healthcare field is not easy, no matter what position you hold. Being responsible for the well being of others is a demanding task, one that I know I am ready for.