My Jamaican Grandparents Fueled My Passion for Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
Commentary

My Jamaican Grandparents Fueled My Passion for Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

My Jamaican Grandparents Fueled My Passion for Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

My father is an immigrant who grew up in impoverished, rural Jamaica. The stories of his childhood were a huge part of my upbringing and inspired my path into nursing. Health is the most fundamental human necessity and the health disparities that exist are unethical and preventable. Due to a lack of access and resources, people in rural communities rely on natural remedies and medicines as a part of the culture.

My grandparents were two of many who did not have access to preventive health care. Both of my grandparents had untreated high blood pressure and high cholesterol leading them both to suffer from a stroke. When my grandparents finally went to the hospital to receive treatment, it was too late to prevent permanent disability. My grandparent’s lack of access to health care resources in Jamaica became my first introduction to public health and fueled my passion for becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

To learn more, I went on a mission trip in high school to Jamaica to the parish in which my father grew up. On this trip, we volunteered in many rural hospitals. We helped provide patients with basic necessities such as soap, water, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and food. Volunteering in various hospitals in Jamaica, I witnessed firsthand the disparities that exist in accessing resources and basic health care needs, deepening my commitment to working with marginalized communities and diverse populations.

As a Nurse Practitioner, my goals are to combat the health disparities that cause people to die sooner and experience a lower quality of life simply because of a box they check under race, socioeconomic status, education, or sexual identity. Because of this, I am pursuing a doctorate degree to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Columbia University in New York City to maintain the health and wellness of my patients through health promotion, health education, and focusing on preventative care. My goal is to build a clinic that focuses on preventative health care for all citizens of Jamaica. A part of the clinic will include mobile clinics that travel to rural parishes to provide care and treatment to the citizens that need it the most like my grandparents. It just never seemed right to me that the circumstances people are born into determining whether their basic life needs, like health, are met I joined the helping profession to serve and to heal, and I hope to bridge the gaps that disadvantage certain groups in our population.

About the author

Chelsea Burrell