The University of Iowa

Driven to Make a Difference

April 9th, 2013

The following story comes from the College of Nursing website.

UI nursing student holding baby
Senior BSN student Jeannette George has an unquenchable zest for knowledge... and for life.

In addition to some of the prestigious, domestic accolades she’s already collected in her young career, including the 2013 Dean's Achievement Award, George has also been actively involved with health care research on an international level.

She recently took time out of her hectic schedule to talk about and her experience at UI, her inspirations as well as some of her career aspirations.

Where are you originally from?
Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R Congo)

Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your degree?
Because UI has one of the best BSN programs in the country; and also because I’ve lived in Iowa City for several years … so the program is nice and close to home!

How would you describe your educational experience at UI?
It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  

Jeannette George poses with nurse
What does an average day looks like for you (particularly during the semester)?
Mondays are a marathon. I wake up at 6:30 a.m. in order to catch the Coralville city bus and get to class in the College of Nursing Building by 8 a.m. I attend classes in the CNB until 4 p.m. then head across the river where I have a class for my International Studies major. It’s around 9:30 p.m. before I get back on the bus and head home.

Tuesday through Friday I have nursing internship in the morning and classes and meetings in the afternoon. Otherwise, I’m usually studying at Hardin Library or a coffee shop.

Is it safe to say you don’t have much free time?
Yeah. Between classes from two different majors, work, senior nursing internship, and extracurricular activities, I hardly ever find “free time” … but when I do, I try to relax or catch up with family and friends.

Are there any particular areas of the nursing profession that have piqued your interest?
Yes. When I was introduced to pediatric nursing during my fourth semester, I immediately fell in love with it. I thought pediatric nursing is what I would be doing for the rest of my life, but then last year I was introduced to nursing research and found myself slowly building up passion for it. I recently attended the 37th Annual Midwest Nursing Research (MNRS) conference, which piqued my interested in research even more!

group of students pose in a classroom in Uganda
What kind of research have you been involved with thus far?
In summer 2012, I conducted an international research project that was developed under the supervision of multiple faculty members (Dr. Christopher Squier, Global Health/UI College of Dentistry; Dr. Sarah Nabukera, research scientist from Uganda, employed by the University of Iowa Research Park; and, Dr. Maxine Adegbola, University of Texas at Arlington).

More specifically, I spent 12 weeks working at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH), in Mbarara, Uganda (a small country located in Eastern Africa). MRRH sees a great deal of patient traffic. Not only is it the main health facility in the area, it’s also the teaching hospital for the Medical School of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) as well as the referral hospital for the entire western region of Uganda.

While I was there, I worked with a physician mentor to develop and conduct a qualitative research study with the purpose of exploring knowledge, attitude, and beliefs about Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) among parents and relatives of children with the disease.

I should note that in the spring of 2012, I was awarded both the Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research and the Kenneth J. Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Award—both of which supported my travel to Mbarara to conduct this research.

If you had to choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

Do you see yourself wanting to further your education and go for a graduate degree?
Absolutely! I am always craving new knowledge and skills. Grad school is definitely in my future plans. I actually plan to go to school until by body and mind can’t handle it anymore :).

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by life. Life is so simple, yet complicated. I live by the idea of celebrating life and embracing all the challenges it brings. My family also inspires me; they are the reason I am where/who I am today.


Read related stories about Jeannette:
Student Reflections on Race and Ethnicity Abroad
The bravest decision I ever made: a summer of SCA research in Uganda