Junior Says ‘Cura Personalis’ Drew Her to Georgetown’s BSN Program

JANUARY 16, 2018 - Lavinia Hess (NHS’19), a junior nursing major, is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “I grew up among cornfields, drawn-out sunsets, and hardworking farmers, yet I always dreamed of absorbing the culture and vibrance only a big city could offer,” she says. “Therefore, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to now live and learn in Washington, DC.”  

Hess is a leader in Chi Alpha and the ESCAPE retreat program, as well as the president of Saint Elizabeth’s Outreach. She is also well-known to the St. Mary’s Hall community, as she works at the School of Nursing & Health Studies’ reception and information desk.

Question: How have you enjoyed Georgetown and the nursing major?

Hess: I transferred to Georgetown from Syracuse University where I had been studying neuroscience and pre-med in order to start my journey of pursuing nursing. I have come to feel like a walking advertisement for cura personalis and nursing. I now hold a fierce pride for the field of nursing, and due to the Jesuit values that permeate my life and education here at Georgetown, I know I would not want to be studying nursing anywhere else. I decided to pursue nursing because I wanted to be by my patients’ side every step of the way, to get to know them and their loved ones, and to be a teacher, a confidant, and an advocate. When researching Georgetown as well as the NHS, I latched onto the meaning of “cura personalis” as the exact description of what I was striving to pursue. Now that I’m here, I can say with full confidence it is shaping the person and nurse I will become.

Question: What particular aspects of NHS and the nursing major stand out for you?

Hess: Within the small intimate community of the NHS, I feel as if I have come home whenever I walk through the doors. Within the school, I can have meaningful conversations on a regular basis with my academic dean, previous clinical instructors, faculty and staff, and my professors, in a manner where I can tell they are truly invested and care about me. I am also a nursing peer advisor and connect with prospective and/or admitted nursing students, an activity that allows me to answer their questions, make them feel more comfortable, and impart my passion for nursing and the NHS. As a part of the NHS reception team, I also enjoy getting to be the first face people see when they walk in the building and strive to showcase the hospitality and care the NHS deeply values.

Question: Tell us a little bit about your time at Georgetown, including your activities.

Hess: The first community I felt part of was that of my fellow transfers. We were all brave and/or crazy enough to pick up our lives and transfer schools, so likewise, these people were fun and easy to be myself around. When I first got to Georgetown, one of the things I yearned for most was to uncover which Center for Social Justice organization I wanted to devote myself to. I found Saint Elizabeth’s Outreach. I have transitioned to becoming the president of the club, where we play games, garden, and socialize with the individuals in care at the psychiatric hospital in Southeast DC. I am also a leader in Chi Alpha, a Christian community that has allowed me to grow in my faith and make lifelong authentic friendships. Since I have been playing violin since 3rd grade, I am in the Georgetown University Orchestra. Although sometimes it feels too time-consuming, when I most need it, the music stirs my soul. This year, I also have the honor of being an ESCAPE leader, a first-year retreat that is a valued tradition here at Georgetown, where I facilitate the art of Ignatian reflection.

Question: What are you thinking about after Georgetown?

Hess: Once I complete my undergraduate education in nursing, I want to become an advanced practitioner. I know the Jesuit values, humble attitude, and spirit of nursing as both art and science I am learning here will prepare my whole personhood for this endeavor. I am very interested in women’s rights and equality, as well as the marvel of pregnancy, so my dream would be to become a nurse-midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner. I also have interest in eventually pursuing my doctorate in nursing so I can be better equipped to understand health care policy and enact change in the field of nursing.