From patient to nurse
Photo courtesy of Lauren Lynch June 06, 2023
Scholarship recipient and 2023 UD graduate embarks on hospital homecoming
Lauren Lynch, a University of Delaware Class of 2023 graduate, overcame formidable challenges to obtain her degree. Unlike many of her classmates, Lynch's journey within the healthcare system began during her senior year of high school when she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia — a rare condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells.
Despite having to take medical leave from UD to undergo treatment, she remained steadfast in her dream of becoming a nurse. Instead of being deterred by her experience, it provided her with a personal understanding of patient care.
“I think my hospital experience enables me to have even more empathy and relate to my patients on a deeper level,” Lynch said. “Before I got sick, I wondered, ‘Why do people hate hospitals so much?’ Now I understand that no one ever wants to be there, which explains why patients can be grumpy. As a nurse, I’ll try to change my care plans to make patients more comfortable, knowing that we share a common goal to get them healthy and discharged as soon as possible.”
Prior to graduation, Lynch accepted a position as an adult oncology nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center, in northern New Jersey, where she had previously been a patient between the spring semester of her first year and the fall semester of her sophomore year. During her hospital stay, Lynch's primary concern was the interruption of her education, given the nursing program’s rigorous curriculum.
"While in the pediatric hematology/oncology unit, I underwent a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy and radiation. But the hardest part for me was that I didn’t feel sick, just fatigued,” Lynch said. “Being in the hospital for over a month made me restless, and I worried about completing my classes and clinical rotations to remain in the program. However, my adviser and Adam Cantley, dean of students, reassured me that I could continue pursuing my education."
After her hospital discharge and medical quarantine ended, Lynch eagerly returned to campus, ready to immerse herself in college life and bond with her fellow classmates. Unfortunately, she faced another obstacle out of her control. Just one month later, the COVID-19 lockdown forced her to return home — again. While her mother worried about her being immunocompromised during the pandemic, Lynch was preoccupied with further disruptions to her college experience.
Once pandemic restrictions were lifted, Lynch made the most of her remaining time at UD. Beyond catching up on her credits, she joined the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and became the treasurer of the Student Nurses Organization. However, one of the most impactful opportunities at UD presented itself when she was named a recipient of the Alfred I. duPont Nursing Scholars Fund. The award provided Lynch with much-needed financial relief, allowing her to concentrate better on her studies.
"I am grateful to have received this scholarship. The support I received was life-changing," she said. "Nursing students have to purchase expensive textbooks and uniforms. On top of that, I had lots of medical bills. The scholarship helped me so much with those additional costs."
Established in 2017 through the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust, the endowment provides financial support to eligible nursing students and ensures the development of a high-quality nursing workforce — a fitting tribute to duPont's legacy as the founder of Nemours Children's Health.
Looking ahead, Lynch aspires to pursue a master's degree to become a clinical instructor. For now, she is thrilled to begin her new job. With a profound connection to her patients and a resilient spirit in the face of adversity, she is well-equipped to deliver the highest standard of care.
“Luckily, I can now say I am recovered and working hard to give back to the communities that supported me. I am proud to do my part in addressing the national nurse shortage,” she said.
If you are interested in helping students like Lynch achieve their dreams of a UD education, you can visit the website created for this purpose. To learn more about supporting scholarships at UD, please visit the UD Alumni and Friends Scholarship website.
About the Campaign
Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware was publicly launched on Nov. 10, 2017. The comprehensive engagement and fundraising campaign unites Blue Hens across the nation to accelerate UD’s mission of cultivating tomorrow’s leaders, creating solutions to grand challenges, inspiring innovations and transforming lives. The united effort will help create an extraordinary student experience at UD and extend its impact on the region and the world.
Building on the record-breaking support and generosity evidenced by the Campaign, on Oct. 7, 2021, the University announced the extension of Delaware First with a $1 billion goal to further fuel change and innovation for students, faculty, campus and the world.
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