Chamberlain University Admissions Advisor Lauren Boone knows the true meaning of living each day to its fullest and being grateful for a second chance at life. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a toddler but it didn’t have an impact until her late teens when she became a regular at a St. Louis hospital, fighting off infections. Then one day during a long walk to class, her lung capacity seemed worse than ever before. She brushed it off, thinking it was just a minor setback. Until it wasn’t.
A Different World
Being listed for a double lung transplant in 2013 changed life as she knew it. Buts eight months later, the call came. That call. Her coordinator asked, “Are you ready for new lungs?” Lauren responded “of course” as if rhetorical. But when the question was repeated, “No Lauren – are you ready for new lungs?” she began to cry as a swarm of nurses came in cheering her on, hugging her and blowing up nursing gloves to write congratulations all over them. The procedure, while scary, went off without a hitch.
Life was different after the transplant – learning to live on her own and searching for an employer that understood and supported what she had endured and didn’t view her as a liability. Chamberlain seemed to fit.
“I felt cared for and the environment felt like home,” she said. “I took to the mission right away thinking this is amazing. It really was all about Chamberlain Care®.”
Lauren has worked at Chamberlain’s St. Louis campus for just over one year. And though she has encountered a few blips here and there from her surgery, she is five years strong with fully functional lungs.
And after all this time, what is the one thing Lauren remembers so vividly about that fragile time in her life? The nurses. The ones who never gave up despite all the setbacks. The nurses she still keeps in touch with today.
“I tell my students – you will never understand the relationship you build with your patients until you are with them,” she said. “I had amazing nurses. They were the motivation I needed. One of the best things about them was my care. It’s going back to that Chamberlain Care even before I knew what that was; it’s basic kindness – just really understanding how to love other people.”
How She Steps Forward
Now it’s Lauren turn to Step Forward. Chamberlain “was willing to take a chance on me and I’m grateful for that. Now I get to work with students and help them become that extraordinary nurse, to achieve their dream.” Speaking recently to students enrolled in a critical-care class, Lauren shared her story. “I don’t think I could do what you do but I can work alongside you, and watch you grow. I keep in contact with my nurses because we built a relationship. You’re going to be that impact. You’re going to be that nurse they talk about forever. You are going to be an inspiration without even knowing it.”
Besides inspiring students, Lauren also Steps Forward as an advocate in the medical field. She recently served as the keynote speaker at a cystic fibrosis event.
“Chamberlain plays a factor in everything I do. People in the room were in the medical field and they can see me making an impact on the future of nursing. When I speak to them about my story, they are getting insight on what our nurses will do. If people are going through an ailment, they will be that light of positivity and give them hope.
By Heather L Hurtado
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