Jazmine Hayes knows firsthand the incredible influences nurses can have on the lives of their patients. When she was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She spent much of her high school years in and out of the hospital and undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston, located in Atlanta, GA, where she bonded with several nurses on her care team.
“I understand the trauma children with cancer are going through and I want to help ease their suffering,” says Hayes, 27, who lives in Gainesville, GA and is poised to complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Chamberlain University in April. “I also saw how hard it is on their parents, and I want to make a difference in their lives too.”
Fortunately, her cancer went into remission two years later when she was 17. She knew then that she wanted to become a nurse. Her dream is to help other children and young people like herself. Already, she has been offered a nurse residency position at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston on the 4WE unit, which starts on June 13, 2022; while May 21, 2022, marks her 10 years as a cancer survivor.
“This is an absolute dream come true for me and it is thanks to Chamberlain,” says Hayes. “It has been my dream in life to be able to care for and help hematology/oncology pediatric patients since my own diagnosis of cancer.”
She adds that she is especially thankful to professors Tessie Eaton, MSN Ed, RN and Angela O’Neal, MSN, RN, CLN; instructors for the BSN program at Chamberlain, and both RNs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston. “They both worked on the unit I was offered the position with, and it is because of them that I had that interview.”
Her personal experience also gives her a unique perspective on her work.
“I want to be friends with the children and with their parents because they need such comfort going through this,” she says.
During her own treatment, she was home schooled and missed out on much of her high school experience. She was diagnosed after a routine checkup with her pediatrician following injuries from playing on the freshman basketball team and discovered her red and white blood cell count were extremely low. It took six to eight hours of tests at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Egleston, but a bone marrow aspiration confirmed Leukemia and she was immediately admitted to the hospital where she underwent surgery to have a port placed and began chemotherapy treatments.
The road to get from high school to soon-to-be nursing school graduate has not been easy. Hayes began her studies at Chamberlain just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During the last two-plus years, she has completed clinicals in mental health, maternal and newborn, pediatrics, community/public health nursing, and collaborative nursing. The oldest of six children, Hayes is a full-time student and works at a restaurant to to pay her way through college and nursing school. In 2017, she received her associate degree in general studies at the University of North Georgia and attended Georgia Gwinnett College before applying and getting accepted to Chamberlain University.
“I can’t wait to walk on that stage and get my diploma,” says Jazmine. “In a way it is the finish line of my cancer journey and the start of my new journey helping pediatric cancer patients.”
By Chamberlain University
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