Adversity as Inspiration for Nursing

May 5, 2016

Like many other students that walk the halls of the Yale School of Nursing, Chimene Diomi ’17 and adversity are long-time acquaintances. At the age of five, Diomi and her family fled civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, settling for the next six years in South Africa. They then moved to Upper Marlboro, MD, which to this day, she calls “home.”

Why YSN?
Diomi graduated from University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in 2011, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in pre-law and a bachelor’s in sociology. YSN’s emphasis on diversity, leadership, global impact, quality, and evidence-based interprofessional education appealed to Diomi.

“Students learn from a framework that integrates knowledge from the physical sciences, humanities, and organizational sciences, incorporating all aspects into nursing practice,” she says. At YSN, she most looks forward to growing as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome the challenges present in the current health care system.

In the Face of Health Adversity
During her senior year at UMES, Diomi faced a health scare that provided her with a new appreciation for nurses and their skills. After her primary care provider informed her that she needed further examination due to having an abnormal white blood cell count, Diomi was assigned to a nurse who completely changed her perspective of what patient centered care should be. 

“From the beginning, it was evident that this nurse wasn’t there just to treat a disease, but to treat the person,” says Diomi. “As she held my hand, I felt reassured. Her compassion, wisdom, skills, and support were the guiding tools that got me through my distress.”

Throughout this experience, explains Diomi, she encountered nurses from many disciplines including oncology, radiology, emergency, and mental health. “Within each, I found answers, advocates, support, and received sincere care. I was so thankful to have met nurses that not only understood the battle I faced emotionally, but were equipped with tremendous skills and tireless dedication toward helping me overcome.”

Nursing is a Privilege
Due to her experience, Diomi committed to providing holistic care for others, just as the nurses did for her. “I love that nursing is a continuous learning process,” she says. “Whether the help I provide is of great measure or remains unnoticed, I take pride in saying, ‘I am a nurse.’ To me, nursing is more than a profession of integrity and compassion, it is a privilege. The ability to be a part of a patient’s story – a life changing circumstance, is truly sacred.”

Moving Forward
In the future, Diomi wants to raise awareness of mental health issues in Africa. “I want to challenge outdated views and eliminate life-limiting, and sometimes life-threatening, stigma and discrimination that is still attached to a mental health diagnosis,” she states. Diomi hopes to see nurses become the leaders in health care reform. “As we teach our patients daily about how to live and cope with multiple disease processes, we should be encouraged to advocate for better health care policies.”

This past month, Diomi received the 2016 Student Scholarship Award from the Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing.