MOMENTS AFTER COMPLETING THE LAST CLINICAL ROTATION of her undergraduate nursing school career, Katie Hansen, a recent UTMB School of Nursing graduate, received a call. Her grandmother, who had been battling an illness for the past few months, was not doing well and had just been admitted to the hospital. Her mother urged her to come visit if she could right away, as the prognosis didn’t look good.
Anxious to be by her grandmother’s side, Hansen rushed from her post at MD Anderson Cancer Center to Methodist Hospital, which thankfully was right around the corner in the Texas Medical Center. She got there just in time to not only see her grandmother, but—with her stethoscope still around her neck— also assist with some basic care needs at her bedside.
The experience was an impactful one for Hansen, who walked the stage at the UTMB School of Nursing Commencement on April 26 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston.
“UTMB has educated me to provide the best and safest care for my future patients, but the experience of caring for my grandma is something that cannot be taught in school,” she says.
As she prepares to embark on a new journey as a nurse with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Hansen knows she’ll be able to take with her the memory of caring for her grandmother and apply it to her own practice.
“I have found that I will be able to empathize more with my patients and their families,” she says.
Just like Hansen, recent UTMB School of Nursing graduate Ivet Gaytan is preparing to use the skills and experience she gained during her undergraduate nursing school career in a new full-time role she has accepted with Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston.
“I’ll be working as a pediatric intensive care unit nurse,” says the Galveston native who achieved a lifelong dream when she graduated from UTMB’s School of Nursing earlier this year.
Growing up on the island, Gaytan has a long history with UTMB—a history that started with her as a frequent patient.
“I have chronic asthma and was in and out of the hospital here at UTMB a lot growing up,” she said. “The nurses were always so nice and welcoming to me each time I was here; that’s how I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I knew from a young age I wanted to do for other people what they did for me.”
Her connection to Shriners Hospital for Children runs deep as well, as she frequently volunteered there with the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston while in high school. She knows those experiences undoubtedly influenced her decision to pursue a job there.
While the specifics of Gaytan’s and Hansen’s journeys are different, they are both stories of learning and growth. During the recent UTMB School of Nursing Commencement, more than 400 other graduates, each with their own stories of learning and growth, participated in the festivities, celebrating those journeys, what’s to come and the unifying experience of now being proud UTMB alumni.