“To be honest, I had not thought of a career as a nurse initially,” says Nancy. And yet, she not only eventually found her calling in nursing, but returned to her alma mater last year to serve Oakies as their nurse.
Before graduating high school, Nancy thought she might want to move to France, major in French, and continue on to culinary school. After some soul searching and long conversations with her parents, however, she gradually came to realize that nursing would be a better path. And once in nursing school, she found that her Oakcrest education served her very well. “Oakcrest prepared me for my career as a nurse stemming from one of Oakcrest's core teachings to be ‘others focused,’” she says. “My experience at Oakcrest gave me the confidence and the education to tackle any career that I chose. I had a heck of a lot of fun and I learned that I had specific talents that proved very useful in my bedside manner as a nurse.”
During college, Nancy worked as a nursing assistant and clinical technician at Fairfax Hospital's Pediatric Med-Surg and Pediatric Oncology Units. She fell in love with the cancer-fighting patients and was offered a job as a Pediatric Hem-Onc (kids with cancer and other blood/autoimmune disorders) nurse right out of college. For the past eight years of her career, she has worked as a Pediatric Emergency Nurse. “Children cry easily, laugh easily, forgive easily,” Nancy says, explaining why she loves this particular job. “They are resilient and inspiring. I am fortunate to be a guest in their lives and the lives of their families.”
Shortly after her family moved back to the DC area, Nancy received word that Oakcrest was looking for a school nurse and she jumped at the chance to serve at Oakcrest. She joined the staff in the fall of 2019. “It has been a privilege to give back in such an important way,” she says. “The unique combination of being an alum and a nurse has made this year very special because I have both the skills for the job and the spirit of an Oakcrest student.” Nancy has enjoyed her new position immensely, especially the opportunity it gives her to bond with a new generation of Oakies.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Oakcrest moved to distance learning, Nancy felt called to support her community on the front lines and pick up extra shifts at her community hospital each week. She was able to do this, having broadened her scope of practice in the past two years to adult ER medicine. Since starting, she has worked directly with patients suffering from COVID-19. Although it’s a tough and stressful job sometimes, she says her faith in God has helped her through the difficulties. “When I offer my day to the Lord and go into the hospital to help, I am, like the sick people I serve, also seeking healing,” Nancy notes. “When we serve others, we ourselves are healed. I am constantly humbled by witnessing the suffering of others. Ultimately, I am seeking Christ in each of my patients.” In addition to serving patients in the ER, Nancy continues to bring energy and humor to Oakcrest life through her video messages to the students.