“I was actually the one holding him when a nurse came in and said ‘We need to take him,’” Bailey Powers, a second-year nursing major, said. She leaned forward in her chair and placed her elbows on her knees.

It was a hard topic to talk about. Her head bent forward until she was staring at the ground and her big toes moved in toward each other. Her hair was still damp with sweat from soccer practice and her backpack was still on her shoulders. Tired. She looked tired.

“My younger brother was born with a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. It’s basically where he was born with a hole in his heart and he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. So, he was technically born a blue baby.

“He was fine when he was born but his skin started turning blue because he wasn’t being oxygenated,” Powers recounted. 

Her face was taut as she continued her story. 

“He probably would not have been alive if that nurse hadn’t found his condition.”

Powers’ story is not uncommon for the many nursing majors on Morningside College’s campus. Personal stories of ‘heroes in scrubs’ dot many student’s reasons for why they joined the department.

Lauri Sells, a nursing professor at Morningside College, spoke of this as well.

“Nursing students usually have some sort of situation prior to their deciding to become a nurse. Whether that be a family member, friend, or self. The interaction led them to want to become a nurse.”

These interactions continue on.

Shelby Stratton, a second-year student as well, was also lured toward the nursing world because of a personal tragedy.

“My cousin was diagnosed with cancer when I was younger. When she passed away, I decided I wanted to help people,” Stratton said as she sat straighter in her chair. The cushions made a hollow sound as she shifted her weight.

The question hung in the air. Looking at Stratton and the lines drawn in her face, it was easy to see that she was thinking. She sat quietly, but her eyes glanced across the room as she talked. She didn’t want to reveal detail through her words, but her uneasiness was noticeable. 

Losing her cousin, just like the fear Power’s felt about losing her brother, was balanced by the presence of nurses. 

These scrubbed heroes brought hope and peace into times of fear. 

Haley Mathes, a fourth-year nursing student, said that she joined the program because of the nurses that had once been in her life as well.

“The nurses were always the ones that would cheer us up. Originally I wanted to be a doctor but then I realized that the nurses do a lot more of the personal work,” Mathes said smiling.

Nurses are the ones that hold hands when the sick are scared, or who come in after a surgery to offer you water. According to Powers, Stratton, and Mathes, nurses are the ones who make the real difference.

Anything from familial tragedies to personal experiences shaped the paths for these students. They each have a main goal for their future careers as ‘heroes in scrubs’ and Sells puts it as such:

“To help as many patients as possible. To impact others’ lives for the greater good.”