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Rewards Are Worth the Sacrifices for
Nursing Alum Mischele Lewis


West Windsor, N.J. - With a longstanding passion for helping others, Mischele Lewis '06 (A.S., Nursing) thought about becoming a pediatrician, veterinarian or physical therapist in high school. Her plans changed with the birth of her daughter, Victoria, in 2001, when she formed an instant bond with her maternity nurse. "I still remember her name. Missy loved her job and it showed in every task she performed," Lewis recalls. "She was wonderful to me. I wanted to be her. The following year, I applied to MCCC's nursing program. The rest is history."

Five years after graduation, Lewis has amassed a wealth of nursing experience. For more than three years, she has worked as a night shift nurse in the 36-bed Orthopedics/Neurology unit at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly. She tends to the needs of stroke patients and surgical patients requiring joint replacements or the repair of broken bones. "I have to keep an extra eye on patients for the most subtle changes and catch potential problems quickly," she says. Previously Lewis was a maternity nurse and then a clinical coordinator at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton.

Mischele Lewis '06

One of Lewis's greatest satisfactions comes from educating patients. "I really love to educate others," she says. "I most enjoy teaching patients something new that impacts them, whether it is about their medication, therapy modalities, or the risks and benefits of their choices and lifestyles. It is gratifying to see those 'ah-ha' moments when it all clicks for them."

Lewis also enjoys what patients have to share with her. "I love listening to the wonderful life stories of the elderly. They have nuggets of wisdom to bestow on us."

A new nurse herself just five years ago, Lewis gladly accepts the role of mentor/precept to new nurses and nursing students. She relates to their situation. "I was that eager student," she explains. "I embrace them, walk them through every step, and reinforce the information. I want to give them the best possible experiences."

A resident of West Trenton, Lewis says that attending Mercer was an easy choice. As the mother of a young child, she needed the college's close proximity, affordability and flexible class scheduling.

She recalls a rigorous curriculum taught by dedicated faculty members such as Donna Penn, Margaret Fink and Judy Reid, who offered lots of encouragement and feedback. She also gained valuable first-hand experience in a variety of clinical settings. "Without Mercer, I am not sure what kind of nurse I would be," Lewis says. "My instructors helped me - a raw, rough piece of clay - and molded me into someone who is making a difference in the world."

A Dean's List student, Lewis served as a student representative with faculty and co-chaired the pinning ceremony committee for her graduating class. She says she still keeps in touch with Mercer classmates. While preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), she and a few others spent long hours studying at a Starbucks in Hamilton. All of them passed the NCLEX on their first attempt.

With each achievement, Lewis has set her sight on her next goal. A member of the American Nurses Association and the New Jersey State Nurses Association, she is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing at Thomas Edison State College and plans to continue on for her master's degree in nursing. One day, she hopes to become a nurse practitioner and possibly teach at the college level.

"Nothing is impossible!" Lewis declares. "Despite all of the sacrifices along the way, the end results in the health care field are absolutely worth it. Get your foot in the door somewhere, anywhere - whether you are a secretary, an aide, or even a transport worker. Persistence pays off. There are so many career possibilities in this rewarding field."

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