Joshua Roorda ’10
Registered nurse, emergency department, Genesis Health System, Davenport, Iowa

Patients as a virtue

An Honors Program scholar, Josh got an internship at a hospital after his junior year. That experience eventually led to a scholarship and a contract for full-time employment before he even started his senior year at Northwestern. Now he’s enrolled in the family nurse practitioner program at the University of Iowa and wants to use his position as an advanced practitioner to deliver health care to underserved and underprivileged populations.


What inspired you to major in nursing?
Nursing was not always something I wanted to do.  When I was accepted to Northwestern during my senior year of high school, I was actually an undecided major with a minor in writing and rhetoric.  But during the last few months of high school, I visited a child care organization in Haiti called Children of the Promise. Watching the nurses work there moved me deeply and inspired me to pursue a career in nursing.

What is a typical day like working in the emergency department?
It’s hard to call any given day in the emergency department “typical.” Even from moment to moment, it’s always changing. Ambulances come in, patients walk in and out, and the condition of a patient might change rapidly. The flow of the department forces you to not only focus on your own work, but to be aware of the department’s needs as a whole. I work alongside a great group of nurses, and they really exemplify what it is like to work and succeed as a team.

Why did you choose to attend Northwestern?
I heard about Northwestern from my sister, Allison, who was a junior at NWC when I was in the process of visiting colleges. I was drawn to the intimacy of the campus and the classroom setting. The idea that I could know my professors—and that they would know me—was very appealing.

What are some of your favorite memories from Northwestern?
My favorite memories revolved around the people I met there. I really valued having a pool of driven and like-minded friends to share my hopes, feelings and questions through each step of the college experience. Some of those people are still my friends today, and I hope they are in my life for a long time to come.

How did your nursing studies challenge and strengthen your faith?
The nursing profession puts you in the very face of doubt, suffering and anger. In the emergency department, I deal with the effects of poverty and broken relationships, as well as profound mental and physical illness every day. But because of those things, I get to bear witness to moments of compassion and love. The powerful interactions between humans, our world and God are constantly on display throughout the flow of my day, which is more than I could ever desire in a job.

 


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