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“A Voice for the People” Develops from “Open Doors” at the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing

By Janlyn Thaxton



Elizabeth Foret Young says she decided to come to Hardin-Simmons University the first day she inquired about studying nursing. “I went to the academic advisor on campus, and from that very moment I have always felt welcomed by the HSU staff and fellow students.”Elizabeth is one of 291 candidates for graduation who will walk the stage this weekend in Behrens Auditorium on the HSU campus. “HSU, for the past three years, has opened doors to many lifelong friendships and opportunities in my education,” says Young. “I have not only become part of the HSU community, but the Abilene community as well,” says the graduating senior. What’s amazing about Elizabeth is that while studying for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, she drove a roundtrip of 90 miles from Coleman each day and was also caring for her children, Deane Alan, four, and Alana Mae, who is three. {{more}}Young and her husband, Andrew, live near the family’s ranch and help with the rigors of working the 135-year-old Young Ranch on weekends. Elizabeth and Andrew are also helping their 19-year-old freshman daughter Maegan go to a two-year college in North Texas.Young says her decision to pursue a career in nursing was a result of just following her heart. “I chose a career in which I can be involved and a profession of which I am proud to be a part,” she says adding, “I intend to make a difference in healthcare.” Susan Kehl, assistant professor of nursing at the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, has no doubt about Young’s initiative of making a difference. “She is a great student who has exhibited an exceptional attitude throughout the rigors and stresses of a nursing education,” says Kehl. “Elizabeth was also active in publishing the first Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing yearbook.” Kehl relates an endearing story about her student, “Recently Elizabeth met a relative of Patty Hanks Shelton, and on her own initiative, thanked her for giving her the opportunity to earn a BSN. Elizabeth invited her to our pinning, and gave her a $40 yearbook! I was impressed by her efforts of goodwill and her generosity.” Young relates one of her greatest memories of HSU, saying, “Professors prayed for our success at the beginning of every exam. The prayers were truly from their hearts. “The professors at HSU are extremely helpful, encouraging, and influential. They are really interested in what you have to say.” Young points to her professors for inspiring “growth and building confidence in brainstorming new ideas.” The fact that “their doors are always open, and they are always available for any questions or concerns you may have makes them very approachable,” she says. “It is wonderful to have professors who do not intimidate.” Young says her college experience has truly changed the course of her life. “I never met a stranger on campus. This has allowed for opportunities to meet people who have the same interests as I do. I was able to discuss those interests and to come up with different ideas and goals for the future by sharing my thoughts with others. HSU was a key factor in the path that I am on today.”After her graduation on Saturday, she plans to enroll in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing. “My career objectives are to work for a physician to expand my knowledge of family healthcare,” she says. In the meantime, she has secured a job at Hendrick Medical Center in Critical Care Services. As for a philosophy about nursing, Elizabeth says she intends to always put the patient first. “As a nurse, I feel that my role is to be involved in the development and implementation of new ideas, practices, and good patient outcomes. I intend to continue to contribute to the nursing profession by being a voice for the people.”

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