In 2018, Louisville native and UofL junior Ameerah Abdulnur was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic condition that she says has impacted her life and academic career.
Her desire to work in health care stems from the empathy and compassion nurses showed her during one of the most difficult times in her life. Abdulnur shares with UofL News more about her story and future career goals.
UofL News: Describe how nurses influenced your decision to pursue the profession.
Abdulnur: During my hospitalization for a [SLE] flare-up, I lost a lot of hope that I could pursue nursing due to my new diagnosis. However, I had a specific nurse, her name was Taylor – I could never forget – who encouraged me to keep going. Her words really inspired me and was most of the reason I decided to pursue nursing.
Nurses are so empathetic and compassionate, and seeing a first-hand example of this really widened my perspective and increased my respect towards the profession. I also observed the same when my grandmother was hospitalized for a severe stroke, and the nurses comforted us during an emotional time.
I was already considering a nursing major during that time due to my family history – my mom was a nurse in England, her mother in Jamaica, and there is just a long line of nurses in my family. I also have a passion for giving others hope and bringing them to their best selves.
UofL News: What has surprised you about nursing school?
Abdulnur: I knew that nursing school would be hard, but no one really talks about how hard it can be mentally. There are so many things in our personal lives that can occur alongside school, and it almost feels like you are trying to juggle everything and stay afloat. Sometimes I find myself trying to take it day by day, or week by week because everything is so overwhelming. Things can be completely calm one week, and then the next it’s like you have three exams, eight assignments and a paper due within days. It really keeps you on your toes, especially when you are trying to balance school with aspects of your personal life.
UofL News: Why did you choose UofL?
Abdulnur: I chose UofL for two reasons: the proximity and scholarships. I am from Louisville, and I felt too connected with my family to be hours away from home. It’s nice to be able to separate my personal life from my school life and still be able to drive 15 or 20 minutes to see my family. It was also extremely helpful that UofL offers the Porter Scholarship for African-American and Hispanic students.
UofL News: What is it like to be in nursing school during a pandemic?
Abdulnur: It is extremely challenging. A major roadblock I hit was at the beginning of the pandemic when all classes were online. I do not learn well from recorded lectures; I have to physically be there in class. Because of this major change, my grades plummeted. I still passed, but it was a major setback. I had to completely modify how I learned and how I studied just to fit around the changes being made due to Covid. All of my classes are in person this semester, but even clinicals are altered, as we cannot shadow critical care units, the specialty I was most looking forward to, since I want to be an ER nurse.
UofL News: What advice would you give someone considering nursing school?
Abdulnur: I would tell them it is definitely worth it. Sometimes nursing can be challenging, but no good thing ever comes easy. There are so many rewarding moments, even as a student in clinicals where you realize that you love what you do. If you have a passion for nursing, all the studying and exams and stress will be worth it in the end – it already is worth it for me!
Adrianne Kelly contributed to this story.