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“They helped me continue my education.”

In this series, we are sharing stories of how Catholic Sisters have guided and inspired you. You can share your story here.

As a young, recently-graduated nurse, I knew it would be important to continue my education. Throughout nursing school, the Sisters of Mercy were supportive, making special arrangements for our class to take some college courses. After graduation, I continued working at the hospital where I had practiced as a student.  Everyone rotated a regular pattern of shifts between days (7 am to 3 pm) and evenings (3 pm to 11 pm).  I wanted to move forward with my education, but continuing to take courses seemed like an impossible situation given that they were held at set days and times, which changed each semester.

Sister Mary Veronica, RSM was our unit supervisor. One day she asked me to come to her office.  I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong — at least I hoped so.

I waited for the time we would meet, all the while trying to imagine what Sister wanted to discuss. At our meeting she asked what my career plans were. She quietly spoke about the future and how pursuing advanced education would be so important. I told her of my dilemma with the conflict between work and class schedules. I could hardly believe it when she said the work schedule could be arranged to match my course schedules! This was no small feat. How did she even know of my dream?

The changes happened without incident and made it possible for me to earn both my baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Sister Veronica’s faith and support led me to lifelong learning and eventually a doctoral degree.  This made it possible for me to work to improve patient care quality and safety and to support the development of my own students who, I like to believe, continue to carry on what Sister started.

Mary Etta Mills, RN, ScD, NEA-BC, FAAN


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