Emmanuel College is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through the Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program.
Nick grew up in a family of medical professionals—his mother and grandmother are both nurses and his father is a paramedic. “I’ve always been surrounded with medical jargon and stories of health incidents, crises, and the rewarding benefits of providing care,” he said.
As his senior year of high school came and college neared, Nick decided to study biology with the hope of attending medical school. “However, I knew I wanted to be in the field as soon as possible and realized all of the opportunities in the nursing profession. Late into high school I changed my intended major and applied to Emmanuel's nursing program, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
He decided on Emmanuel College because of its small size and proximity to some of the country’s top healthcare institutions—such as neighboring Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and more. “I wanted to escape small town living and attend a school in a big city,” he said. “However, I was not willing to give up the educational experience I had in high school with small class sizes and individual attention from educators. Emmanuel College met all of my criteria and more when searching for a college or university.”
When it comes to “firsts,” Nick’s Emmanuel experience is full of them. He is a member of the first cohort of the College’s traditional undergraduate nursing program, which has created a special connection with his classmates. “Being a member of the inaugural cohort provides many opportunities for learning and growth,” he said. “Without any cohorts above to give us advice, my classmates and I have built a close-knit connection built on collaboration, communication, and a mutual appreciation for the experience that we are sharing.”
During the second semester of Nick’s first year, COVID-19 sent shockwaves through the nursing profession, and he found himself watching a public health crisis unfold in real time and wondering if the pandemic had changed his path. “Any doubts that the pandemic created were washed away as the true nature of nursing was illuminated in the determination, resiliency, patience and caring of healthcare professionals across the world,” he said. “The pandemic made me want to become a nurse more than ever before.”
In his first clinical at Spaulding Hospital in spring 2021, Nick cared for multiple COVID-positive patients. “Witnessing the tragic effects of COVID-19 virus first-hand was a humbling experience, and knowing I could provide any kind of relief for the patients put everything into perspective.”
On campus and off, Nick is focused on deepening his understanding of the human experience. “As a nurse, I will have patients of many different backgrounds, and I want to be able to provide inclusive care to all patients, and be educated on different cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, and identities.”
Last fall, during his medical/surgical clinical at Boston Medical Center, the city’s only public hospital, Nick worked with patients experiencing homelessness and learned about the social disparities that affect access to health care. This spring, he is delving into the mental health and psychological side of patient care at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.
“Working at a Catholic hospital brings learning opportunities, exploring the role that religion and faith has on a patient's treatment decisions,” he said. “In my mental health clinical, I work with patients suffering from a variety of mental conditions, including bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and patients experiencing suicidal ideation. Within this rotation, there requires self-reflection and bias elimination of mental illness, and stigma surrounding mental health, to build therapeutic relationships with the patients.”
In addition to his nursing coursework and clinical work, Nick also credits his cocurricular activities—he has served as Resident Assistant, an Admissions Ambassador and a member of the Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams—for broadening his experiences and interactions with diverse groups of students. “Involving myself on campus has provided me with so many amazing opportunities, and has helped to create many life-long friendships,” he said.
Excited for what the future holds, Nick is confident in his future path. He plans to spend his senior year at Emmanuel striving for success in academics as a student-nurse, as well as success in his social and mental health as an individual. After graduation, he hopes to stay in Boston, gaining experience in Emergency and ICU settings, as well as spending some time as a travel nurse. His ultimate goal is to carve out his nursing specialty and receive his Master of Science in Nursing.
“It may be early, but what good is a plan if you do not leave room for revisions?” he said. “Simply, but most importantly, I plan to spend my next few years living a life that I can look back on in 50 years and be proud of.”