By Shannon Baldree
As a brand new nursing student, my brain is typically focused on one of two thoughts: What day of the week is it? Or what’s going to be on our next exam? I can usually answer both of those questions despite my recent lack of sleep.
Today was Friday, and we didn’t have an exam. In fact, we didn’t even have a lab to attend.
Instead, we ventured out into our community to give back to those in need. We may not be nurses yet, but we have the hearts of nurses already.
Our clinical instructors, Mrs. Farthing, and Mrs. Chisholm, gathered up 17 of us at the Ronald McDonald House in Pensacola for Day of Caring hosted by United Way. We all arrived eager to get started.
This was actually my first time volunteering since high school. When I found out from my clinical instructor that we were getting this opportunity to volunteer, I instantly felt a rush of emotions.
I was excited to know I would be able to spend my day helping others. When you give of your time through volunteering, it often leaves you with a sense of fulfillment like no other experience can offer.
As I spent my day helping organize clothes, tiny hand-sewn infant hats, and countless brand new gloves, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of hope. I remember a moment where I paused and watched as my nursing school friends worked up a sweat in this small closet so eager to make this as perfect as possible for people they would never even meet.
The Ronald McDonald House is the true definition of giving back to the community. They provide free resources to families who have a child or children in a local hospital by giving them a hot meal, a cozy bed, or even a place to grab a shower.
When these parents are in their most vulnerable moments, the Ronald McDonald House is there to help alleviate some of their worry by providing these free services.
This year marks 25 years of the United Way Day of Caring in Escambia County, I’m so happy to have been a part of this special day.
My group was in charge of reorganizing clothes that have been donated; our other group was in charge of organizing toy donations. I’m proud of the work we all produced and of how willing my fellow nursing classmates are to give their time and energy. I hope the few hours we all gave today made a difference in some way.
Making a good score on an exam will only get us so far as a future nurse. When the rubber meets the road, we all need to be ready to serve our community with open arms and warm hearts. That’s exactly what we all accomplished today.
I appreciate that the nursing program at PSC recognizes the needs of our community and also how they are preparing us for our future career on this level of giving.
The Ronald McDonald House will continue to serve Escambia County for years to come while the PSC nursing students are across town preparing to serve our community in the future.