Nursing Alumnae Serve Communities Across the Country

Johana Morrison (left) and Suzanne Babcock (right)
Johana Morrison (left) and Suzanne Babcock (right)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2018) —  In 2015, Johana Morrison and Suzanne Babcock graduated from the University of Kentucky and entered the field of nursing. These two alumnae made a the decision years ago to enter the field of medicine and serve their communities as nurses.

Originally from Lexington, Babcock always knew she wanted to attend UK. "I actually only applied to college at UK because I knew that was the only place I wanted to go," she said. While she always knew she wanted to work in the medical field, she was initially a biology major and planned to attend medical school. She realized, that in order to spend more time with her family and with the patients she would come to meet, the field of nursing would be a better fit.

Currently living in Dallas, Texas, with her husband Joshua Babcock, an alum of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Suzanne works as an emergency department nurse at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Irving, Texas. She likes having the opportunity to be a source of comfort to her patients as well as an advocate, she said. "As an emergency department nurse, I am able to connect with each of my patients and their families and help them get through, what for most, can be the worst day of their life," she said. " As a nurse, I am an advocate for my patients."

While studying to be a nurse, Babcock felt especially encouraged by Jennifer Cowley, a senior lecturer in the college. "She [Jennifer Cowley] was an excellent instructor who encouraged us to be the best we could be but also made learning an incredible experience," Babcock said.

For Morrison, becoming a nurse has been a lifelong dream and by the age of 10 she knew she wanted to work in pediatrics. Morrison has since made that dream a reality working as a pediatric intensive care unit nurse at Inova Children's Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. After a visit one summer, Morrison knew UK was the right fit for her and she decided to move to Lexington from the Washington D.C. area.  A semester of ICU nursing instruction provided Morrison with an edge and prepared her for her current role.

"A lot of nursing schools don’t have a semester of ICU nursing which is part of the last nursing semester at UK; I learned so much in that class it put me ahead of many of my fellow new grad nurses," she said. A trip to Ecuador her senior year of college gave her hands-on experience and a passion for public health nursing. During the Shoulder to Shoulder Global education abroad program, Morrison served rural families by providing primary care services, she says this experience was one of the best she's ever had, "Hartley Feld helped me find my love for public health nursing, especially abroad."

Each day, thousands of people across the nation make the choice to leave their homes and their families to serve others during 12-hour shifts, most of which are spent on their feet. Those selfless people are called nurses. When patients and their families are experiencing unknown, scary and potentially fatal illnesses, nurses not only treat patients, they provide comfort. During National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, take the time to return the favor in a small way and say thank you to these often-unsung heroes.