John Vanderlee Award

As a younger man looking to my future, I never suspected that I would have found my way into healthcare, let alone nursing. For my first venture to University, I pursued marine biology, and zoology, I suppose forgetting that what attracted me to science in the first place was the physiology of the human body from the 11th grade.

After becoming somewhat disillusioned with my first career as an environmental policy analyst, I decided to re-explore myself, my surroundings, and the values which mattered to me. It is here that I found myself drawn to nursing.  It seemed to be a field that valued understanding, compassion, empowerment, and pragmatism; that knowledge is not useful if it is not put into action.  Nurses seemed to do everything: building and nurturing therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, practicing tangible skills like IV therapy and wound care, and advocating for the marginalized and disenfranchised.  Identity is like any skill in that it requires practice, and this was the kind of person I wanted to be.

Since beginning my studies, I have developed personally and professionally, and nearly every day find a new reason to be a nurse. Homeless and addictions outreach, parent/infant teaching sessions, conducting mental status examinations, or providing tracheostomy care; this is all a part of nursing, part of my practice, and is my way of helping to create the type of world that I want to a part of.  Thank you for this award in helping me achieve it.