Cham Advances Career Through Nurse Anesthesia Program

APRIL 17, 2013 - Ebou Cham (G’14) arrived to the Nurse Anesthesia Program at Georgetown after building his professional nursing education and career in Washington state.

Originally from Gambia, West Africa, Cham moved to the United States in 2002 to attend school. He started out as a certified nursing assistant. He became a licensed practical nurse in 2005, and eventually a registered nurse in 2007.

“I chose to attend the nationally reputable Georgetown Nurse Anesthesia Program because I prefer a front-loaded didactic curriculum,” he says. “I’m the kind of person that likes to learn as much as possible before endeavoring into the practice setting. I believe this is one way to enhancing patient safety.”

Educational and Career Growth

Before attending Georgetown, Cham received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Washington at Bothell, where he published two articles in the university’s Policy Journal. The first examined the lack of access to health care in developing countries while the second detailed his personal experience of how race, gender, and culture intersect and can play out in health care social justice.

For his extraordinary achievement as an undergraduate, he earned the university’s Chancellor’s Medal at the 2008 graduation.

The university’s Web site says, “Cham was chosen for the honor because of his commitment to learning and for being a consistent source of inspiration for faculty and fellow students.”

In addition to his academic accomplishments, he has also mastered three languages: English, Wollof, and Mandinka.

Practicing Faculty

Cham went on to work at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. There he gained experience working in a surgical intensive care unit and became a certified critical care registered nurse.

He has built upon that experience at Georgetown and says he is learning a great deal from the faculty and his classmates.

“I also like that all the faculty members are practicing CRNAs,” he says. “You benefit from learning about the general principles and concepts of anesthesia, as well as current evidence-based trends in the field. It’s nice to have a professor that can come to class and use current patient examples.”

Fellow NHS students have also been a motivation for Cham.

“The admissions committee has to be credited with creating a diverse classroom filled with passionate, dedicated, and well-rounded individuals,” he says. “It is conducive to a healthy environment of learning and gives you extra motivation to learn from each other as student health care professionals.”

‘Giving Back’

While he doesn’t have much time for much other than school work, Cham particularly enjoys playing soccer. In fact, he played semi-professionally in the Pacific Coast Soccer League for the then FK-Pacific FC.

After graduation and certification, he plans to work in a hospital and is open to staying in the D.C. metro area for a few years.

He says he plans to volunteer in underprivileged areas, as well as teach aspiring nurse anesthetists.

“I’m sure after I get all the experience I need, I’ll come back to the field of academia,” Cham says. “Something about giving back resonates with me.”

By Tiffani Haynes