Inaugural Class of Grady Scholars — Why Nursing, Georgia State and Grady – Georgia State University News

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Nine young women pose in dark blue student nursing uniforms
Ten first-year nursing students received scholarships as part of the Georgia State University/Grady Health System partnership. The first class of Grady Scholars came from various personal and educational backgrounds but all desired to begin their careers at Grady Hospital. The students shared their interest in nursing, future goals, specialties and Georgia State’s role in preparing them for their nursing careers. The fall 2022 Grady Scholars are Sasha Assad, Jordan Harrison, Rodnecia Jones, Mahnoor Khurshid, Jenet Lopai, Julie Lee, Angelica Smith, Fnu Tanvi, Jalen Wilmont and Leilani Yates.
What made you interested in a career in nursing?
Sasha Assad
“I was inspired to pursue a career in nursing, being that my mom and sister are both in the healthcare field as registered nurses. I look for a career that will keep me on my toes and ensure endless learning; nursing is just that!”
Rodnecia Jones
“As a child, I found myself constantly in the hospital. During these times, I instantly found myself in awe of the medical field and all it had to offer. I was interested in the knowledge and skills you would gain, but most of all, I fell in love with the safety and reassurance nursing gave others.”
Jenet Lopai
“I am from South Sudan, born in Uganda, and came to the United States as a refugee and grew up with many refugees. I understand the challenge of obtaining adequate healthcare and becoming a nurse will allow me to [work to] eradicate any healthcare disparities. In addition, my father, a charge nurse, was one of my inspirations to explore a career in nursing; he educated me and guided me on the right path.”
Angelica Smith
“Nursing has sparked my interest in a variety of ways. Learning about the health sciences has been a key interest of mine throughout grade school and college. I find it fascinating that our body’s physiology and mechanisms influence our daily lives. Ultimately, I chose nursing because it facilitates aspects of health sciences and community outreach — two of my main interests.”
Jalen Wilmont
“My interest in nursing began in high school when I attended a career academy. At first, I was not sure what field of healthcare I [would choose], but I decided on nursing once I realized how closely nurses interact with patients, as I really valued patient interactions.”
Leilani Yates
“My interest in nursing sparked when I was in the 7th grade. I wanted to be a doctor. Then my grandparents on my mother’s side developed health issues and were hospitalized. I stayed with my grandmother in her room at the hospital, and I realized that the nurse was the person doing all the things I could see myself doing.”
Were you familiar with Grady Hospital before receiving the Grady Scholar award?
S. Assad
“My mother was previously employed at Grady Hospital for two years. This was her first job as a newly registered nurse. She always brags about how Grady gave her such a great experience which molded her into the nurse she is today.”
R. Jones
“I was familiar with Grady Hospital as both a patient and a patient’s family member.”
J. Lopai
“Grady’s location plays a significant role because it is in a community housing many underserved minorities and ethnic groups, which drew me to become a Grady Scholar. I know a few people who enjoy working at Grady and some friends who have received care there.”
L. Yates
“I volunteered at Grady Hospital during the summer of 2019 in the ICU for a few days and changed to the physical therapy floor. I really enjoyed being able to help the staff and patients.”
Is there a specific area of nursing in which you’d like to work?
S. Assad
“My dream department to work in is the Emergency Room. I know I will enjoy the fast-paced and multitasking work environment.”
R. Jones
“I would love to work in Grady’s labor and delivery or NICU department upon graduation.”
J. Lee
“I am interested in cardiology or pediatrics. I will be able to play a significant role in treating various cardiovascular health issues and alleviate health problems before they occur when working with children.”
Angelica Smith
“I am leaning more toward renal or diabetic care. A few of my immediate family members have been diagnosed as either pre-diabetic or diabetic. Renal disease sometimes follows as a secondary consequence of the primary diagnosis of diabetes. I’ve witnessed quality, exceptional care from nurses and other healthcare professionals in managing these disease processes in my family. This inspired me to decide on renal or diabetic nursing care.”
Have you thought about your future goals in nursing? Positions you aspire to or additional degrees to pursue?
J. Lee
“As a future nurse, it is my goal to become an advocate for patients. I want to be a bridge between the physicians and the patients by mediating conversations about the patient’s treatment plans. I would also like to get a master’s to become a nurse practitioner, allowing me to become independent and obtain a larger role in healthcare.”
J. Wilmont
“I plan to get my doctorate.”
A. Smith
“After obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing, I anticipate beginning work as a registered nurse before applying to master’s programs (preferably at GSU) to continue my educational goals in nursing informatics.”

L. Yates
“I would like to further my education by attending a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner and hopefully [earn a doctorate].”
What brought you to Georgia State University for your nursing education?
R. Jones
“Throughout high school, I was involved with Georgia State’s Upward bound program, and after spending countless weeks on campus during the summers, I eventually grew fond of the campus and the environment.”
J. Lee
“I chose Georgia State University has one of the highest-rated nursing programs in the state. They promote diversity and ensure all students are successful in the future.”
A. Smith
“In the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia State’s proximity to various healthcare sites allows for a more significant opportunity to connect and network with many nursing professionals. In addition to location, Georgia State has a college-to-career approach, indicated by applying what we learn in the classroom to labs, clinicals, etc.”
J. Wilmont
“I love that Georgia State University is in the middle of downtown Atlanta and near Grady. GSU nursing program is rated very highly and has a high NCLEX pass rate.”
L. Yates
“The biggest factor [for choosing Georgia State] was that the program was very affordable, and the student reviews were positive. I also liked that Georgia State does not hide the factor of nursing school being challenging. Instead, they encourage you to apply and ensure guidance through the program.”
How do you think Georgia State has prepared you for your nursing career?
S. Assad
“So far, Georgia State is doing a great job preparing me to be a nurse. I currently work at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital as a patient care tech. This gives me an opportunity to closely observe the nurses and ask questions to gain early knowledge to benefit my career. Georgia State nails everything I witness in the hospital plus more as they care about their students’ success in providing safe and efficient patient care.”
R. Jones
“I think Georgia State education expectations have greatly prepared me for my nursing career in the future because it taught me valuable life concepts like critical thinking, building my work ethic and being self-efficient overall.
J. Lee
“Georgia State has rigorous courses which help prepare students for the workplace. Not only do they help you prepare for the NCLEX, but they also help you prepare for the real world. The professors told stories of their experiences working as nurses and different ways that would allow us to work most efficiently.”
J. Lopai
“Although I have just begun the program, I feel that Georgia State, the nursing professors, and the staff [are preparing] me for my career. They have provided resources, guides and skills I need to achieve my goals. I also believe that once I complete this program with their outstanding efforts, I will be more than ready to pursue my career in nursing.”
A. Smith
“From an academic standpoint, my pre-requisite courses served as an excellent foundation for nursing concepts. Serving as a [Georgia State] New Student Orientation Leader has helped me develop good communication skills when interacting with incoming students and families.”
J. Wilmont
“The professors are very knowledgeable and are always willing to help if you don’t understand something.”
L. Yates
“The program focuses on the main topics important to nursing, such as critical thinking and situation priority. By the time I receive my degree, I believe I will be fully equipped with the knowledge needed to provide all aspects of care to a patient.”
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