As 2023 comes to a close, we will be sharing a few highlights from the year on our blog. We hope you enjoy!
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, one of Frontier Nursing University’s oldest programs relaunched this summer behind the leadership of the Director of Annual Giving and Courier Program, Lisa Colletti-Jones. The Courier Program, which was operated from the Versailles campus for the first time, provided an opportunity for two college students to participate in an eight-week service learning internship within Woodford County, which is home to the city of Versailles and the FNU campus.
Courier Rebecca Kouvei
As a senior public health major at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Rebecca Kouevi is passionate about connecting with patients to understand their problems better and collaborate with them to find effective solutions. Her studies include epidemiology and disease control concentrations, and she is minoring in sociology.
“I chose (sociology) because I wanted to bring that patient-centered and cultural sensitivity aspect to care,” Rebecca said. “First of all, let’s treat the person in front of us. It is about more than just the medicine prescription or their presenting disease. Different factors – economic, social, health, and diet – contribute to their health and wellbeing as a whole person.”
Rebecca, who resides in Richardson, Texas, just outside of Dallas, is a first-generation college student and is on track to graduate next spring. She hopes to become a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner and later plans to do medical missions and work with underserved populations, hoping to work for World Health Orginization (WHO).
“I love how versatile a physician assistant’s career pathway can be, the freedom to jump from one specialty to another – like surgery, primary care, and pediatrics. However, nurse practitioners’ practice independence is a big draw also,” Rebecca said. “Whether I become a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, I do not think I can go wrong either way. They are both helping people. Whatever I decide, I hope to make a difference in my patients’ lives and positively impact the community I serve.”
Rebecca has worked with the Woodford County EMS and The Midway Center for Integrative Health during the Courier program. She has gone on calls with the EMS, which has given her a first-hand perspective of how the EMS personnel interact with patients in the most stressful of times.
“One call I was on was with an elderly patient,” Rebecca said. “She had fallen on her head. When the EMS arrived, I saw so much more than just bandaging someone up. Her daughter was there and in disarray. One of the EMS people was over there calming her down, offering to let her ride with us while at the same time taking care of the mom who fell. It’s just nice to see the interaction between providers, patients, and families. The tender care, empathy, and compassion displayed left an imprint on me.”
At The Midway Center for Integrative Health, Rebecca has worked with Dr. Jim Roach, M.D., ABIHM, ABOIM. “One of the first two questions he asks is about their spiritual and mental health, followed by their diet inquiry,” Rebecca said. “He is really thorough, and I like how he is able to take time with each patient to conduct a comprehensive assessment and determine root problems. I continue to learn about the importance of humanizing healthcare delivery and providing care for that patient right in front of me and value them. It is paramount to collaborate with patients, to put yourself in their shoes, seeking to understand the buy-in for patients, and considering their lifestyle to formulate an effective and comprehensive care plan that they can adhere to for optimal outcomes.”
Rebecca said the Courier experience has been fun, educational and has sharpened her healthcare delivery vision.
“Everyone is super friendly, and I have enjoyed meeting various people from diverse backgrounds and disciples,” she said. “Each week, we have discussions with different practitioners and professionals who are experts in their fields. It has been amazing getting everyone’s knowledge and insight, and advice on how to improve the healthcare system. It is easy to focus on all the things that are wrong with healthcare, but we have physicians and nurse practitioners who are there because they want to be there. They care about their patients and seek to help them attain a quality life amidst their health challenges. Focusing on people will make a difference for everyone.”
Rebecca said that the Frontier community, led by the Annual Giving and Courier Program Director, Lisa Colletti-Jones, has gone above and beyond and made her Courier experience positive.
“I am just impressed by the staff members,” she said. “They are passionate and caring people who do their work well. They are dedicated to ensuring an impactful and hands-on experience for us to explore our individual interests. I am so thankful for Lisa and everyone here who made the program successful. It has been a great time, and I am so grateful for this experience and all the ways it has enriched my professional development.”
Courier Echioma Onyemaobi
Completing his freshman year at the University of Texas Permian Basin, Echi Onyemaobi is taking the time to learn what he wants to do after his college days are over. He is already enrolled in UT Permian Basin’s nursing program and embraced the opportunity to learn more about healthcare as an FNU Courier this summer.
With most summer internships tagged for juniors and seniors, Echi was prepared to work through the summer. But an advisor suggested he look into courier service and helped him set up his profile on Handshake. Not long after, he came across the Courier program and realized it was the opportunity he was looking for.
“When I came across the Courier program, I saw it was more like community service,” Echi said. “That’s what really caught my interest. I’m a freshman, so I’m here to explore.”
Echi, who was born in Nigeria, moved to Odessa, Texas, with his family when he was young. Along with his mother, he has an older brother and older sister. His father passed away when Echi was little.
He has already immersed himself in college life, enjoying the small atmosphere. He is active in student government, having recently been elected as treasurer.
“It’s been a good experience so far,” Echi said of college life. “My teachers have been really encouraging.”
Outgoing and eager to learn, Echi enjoys building relationships and helping others.
“What got me interested in nursing is that you can actually have a more personal relationship with patients,” he said.
During his time as a Courier this summer, Echi shadowed Patty, a hospice nurse with Bluegrass Care Navigators. He went on patient visits with her and had the chance to watch first-hand how she interacted with her patients.
“One thing that she made me see is the importance of a personal relationship with your patients,” he said. “She has that. I see I see it in her patient’s eyes. They are excited to see her. It’s not like we can reverse aging or make them feel younger, but I feel these moments are really important in people’s lives. She could just go and check her patients and move along and just walk away. That’s what she’s getting paid for. But she takes the extra step to make sure the patient is actually happy and at ease. That’s what I really like about this experience. It’s important to do your job, but there’s nothing more important than actually maintaining that relationship that you have with your patient. It can change everything.”
While the Courier program did not change Echi’s mind about wanting to be a nurse, it did give him a much deeper understanding of the profession.
“One thing I’ve loved about this experience is that it showed me the true motivation behind my wanting to become a nurse,” he said. “The Courier program was really a good idea for me because this reinforced my decision to pursue nursing. I have more of an understanding of what nursing can actually be, and I want to become a nurse now more than ever.”