On Friday October 1, 2010, I attended a reception to honor Sarah Joy Carlson Hollingsworth, this year’s recipient of the Boston College Alumni Gold Award of Excellence.  Sarah is a Connell School of Nursing alumnus who graduated in 2005.  The award is meant to recognize a graduate within the past ten years who exemplifies excellence in their profession, their community, or to Boston College.  The recipient of this award demonstrates true inspiration to the people around them.  At this event, Sarah spoke about her experiences as a student, a nurse, and a volunteer in healthcare deprived countries.

I found the presentation to be truly extraordinary.  One of my favorite parts was when she talked about her experience in Liberia.  It was remarkable to hear about the practices she had to become accustomed to, the danger she could have been prone to, and the close relationships she was able to make with these people.  She was working in a country that had been in a six-year post war period with an inefficient healthcare system.  Their clinics were not even up and running.  Sarah’s goals were to educate people on living more healthy lifestyles and to train clinics so they could raise their NGO scores.  These clinics were filthy, had no beds for birthing babies, and barely had any workers considering the extremely low number of healthcare professionals in Liberia.  Hearing about her experience was such an eye opener.

I was inspired by Sarah’s love for others and passion to contribute so much to the world.  She made me aware of many different opportunities beyond just studying in classrooms.  Our job as nurses calls for us to love others─ to in some way change people’s lives whether it be with our words or with our hands.  She told us that no matter how much education we have or how much time we spend memorizing what our professors instruct us, there is always something for us to learn.  “I need you to teach me,” says Sarah describing her attitude throughout her experiences.  It is clear that Sarah is letting nothing stop her from doing what she feels she is called to do.  I cannot think of anyone else who could exemplify the characteristics of this award any better.

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