Christopher Schayer, ‘17

Hometown: Coventry, Rhode Island 

Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree at Rhode Island College; Master of Arts Degree in Educational Technology at the University of Connecticut 

YSN Specialty: Acute Care with Oncology Concentration 

Prior to enrolling at Yale University School of Nursing, Christopher Schayer was a middle school science teacher for seven years. While he thoroughly enjoyed teaching, he always had a desire to join the health care field. After becoming an EMT, Schayer decided that he needed to follow his dream to become a nurse practitioner. 

“I truly believe in patient education and am passionate about ensuring that patients understand their diagnosis, possible treatment options, and services available to them,” said Schayer. “Nursing allows me to blend my two passions together in caring for, and educating, patients.” 

Schayer connects with YSN’s mission, and in particular, the GEPN program. “The program prides itself on taking people from other career fields, and using their previous skills/experiences to turn them into amazing health care providers,” he explained. The program’s unique seminars like “Looking is not Seeing, Listening is not Hearing” and narrative nursing provide an interdisciplinary approach to health care, making the GEPN experience unique. 

YSN is a community that promotes helping friends, colleagues, and fellow classmates. Schayer’s favorite thing about YSN is the sense of family the School provides. “Professors really do want you to succeed and go above and beyond to ensure that you become the best nurse you can be.” 

So far, Schayer’s greatest experience at YSN was the time he spent on the hematology oncology floor at Smilow Cancer Center. Not only was he able to follow patients each week over the course of a month, but also he was able to become familiar with their illnesses and treatments, families, careers, and aspirations. It allowed Schayer to grasp a comprehensive understanding of how his care and the care that nurses provide directly impacts the lives of the patients and their families. 

This year, Schayer will be part of the OutPatient group at Yale, an interdisciplinary organization for students that works to educate health care workers about the intricacies of caring for members of the LGBTQ community. 

“I have learned an enormous amount about myself during GEPN year,” said Schayer. “Perhaps the most prominent was that, in order to truly advance myself and my skillset, I needed to continue to be thrown into new situations that were far outside my comfort zone.” While each new situation caused Schayer a great deal of anxiety, they ultimately made him a better nurse. In the future, he hopes to continue to positively impact the lives of his patients the best way he can. Later on in his career, he would love to teach in addition to practicing. “One thing I know for sure is that wherever I end up in health care, I’ll never forget the amazing people at YSN!”