Nursing Graduates Pen Book


Senior nursing students step outside the typical hospital clinical environment for their community health course – often working with the most underserved people of the St. Louis region. This year, graduating students wrote a book chronicling their diverse experiences titled, “Our Walk … Our Community … Our Impact.”

“The book really shows the array of things nurses do,” student Jenny Pancer said. “It’s very humbling to see how such simple things make such a big difference.” Pancer co-authored the book with 36 fellow senior nursing students. An official book signing for family, friends and faculty took place on campus last May, following the annual nursing pinning ceremony. Calling themselves The Lillian Wald Writers, named for the 19th century public health nursing pioneer, each author selected a journal entry from their clinical that best exemplified their experience.

Rachel Chaney, who recently accepted a position with Family Focus at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, wrote about her work with Nurses for Newborns. “It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I’m not usually a writer, but once I put my pen to paper it came out. The work was so different than any clinical I’ve ever done.”

Mary Curtis, Community Health professor, said the idea for a book came from the campus initiative “Maryville Reads, One book, One community.” The book focused on underprivileged teenagers and how writing changed their lives. Curtis said their insights helped to inform her students’ clinical experiences as they worked with vulnerable populations. As students shared their nursing intervention stories with classmates, Curtis recognized the impact such a book might have for the authors and others who might read it. “The book is a great opportunity to share our experience with the community,” student Nicole Otey said. Otey’s clinical involved worked with East St. Louis Home Health Care.

Emily Martin, who worked with students in a middle school in Wentzville, MO, said the diversity of each clinical inspired her. “Each person has such a different experience,” she said. As an added bonus, said Stephanie Schellert, the book is a fond memento. “It’s quite an accomplishment, and it’s also a great memory to keep of your experience in nursing school,” she said.