Seniors to Remember: Ashley Thibodeau
Hometown: Grosse Pointe, Mich.
Notable activities: CSON Honors Program; Undergraduate Research Fellow; Boren Scholarship recipient; study abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; participant, CSON-Haiti community health clinical; volunteer, Children’s Hospital, Boston; four-year member and 2011-12 president of Women’s Club Lacrosse team; volunteer, American Red Cross-Boston College blood drives; volunteer, MetroLacrosse, a skills and enrichment program for Boston area youth; founding member for Every Bit Counts food donation program; presenter at Undergraduate Research Symposium
Post-graduation plans: Work as a pediatric nurse for a few years and then pursue graduate studies in nursing
Overview: Thibodeau has always sought out opportunities to enhance her learning and nursing skills. She volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Children’s Hospital in Boston, often spending time with young patients in the hospital playroom or bringing toys and games to them when they were too sick to leave their rooms. While studying in South Africa, she volunteered with University of Cape Town medical students on mobile clinics bringing health care to residents of nearby townships. She traveled to Haiti where she and other BC nursing students cared for about 1,000 patients in clinics in rural villages. Thibodeau chose to explore the importance of this international service experience on nursing students through her honors thesis, “Experiences of Undergraduate Nursing Students in Haiti Community Health Clinical.”
Who have been some of your most influential professors?
The support I’ve received from [Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Learning and Simulation Centers] Amy Smith has been really great. She worked with the seniors on their placements and she has offered great feedback for me on the journal I’ve kept during my placement. [Assistant Professors] Melissa Sutherland and Natalie McClain are both inspirational. I learned a lot about research methods and interviewing people from watching Natalie.
What kind of a difference has BC made for you?
The international opportunities I had were crucial to me and are not something many other nursing programs offer. I came back from South Africa and Haiti with new excitement for nursing. I know I and a lot of the nursing students returned from Haiti feeling like we had really come into our own as nurses because we got to work so independently. It is really great to get out of your comfort zone and have faculty like Donna Cullinan who want to take kids to places that they are so passionate about.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences during your time at BC?
My years on the Women’s Club Lacrosse team have been among my best memories, especially going twice to Arizona to represent BC in the national tournament.
What will you miss most?
I will miss the connections with the Connell School faculty. The program is small enough that you get to know the entire faculty. There’s never a time I go there and I don’t know someone. It’s nice thinking how we’re all in nursing for the same reason — to be there for the patient.
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