Suzanne Sievers is a CNL student who studied agriculture prior to entering nursing. She believes human connection is paramount and is invigorated by the impact she can have when working with others. She is a strong believer in the philosophy that excellent patient care begins with self-care.  She hopes to be instrumental in the promotion of the CCI's resources, events, and activities. She wishes to be an advocate for mental health promotion and resiliency among her peers.  She is a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation and believes in a well-balanced and active lifestyle. For her, this includes running, yoga, and hiking which foster confidence and resiliency within herself.

What inspired you to pursue nursing?
My background in animal agriculture prepared me well for the uncertainties that life brings; however, what it was missing was the human connection. Seeing the impact that I can have over other's lives in my clinical settings has only fueled my drive to become an exceptional care-giver. There is nothing more gratifying to me than the humility of having the privilege to be working towards becoming a member of one of the most trusted professions in the nation. Additionally, I am excited about working towards closing gaps in healthcare through the Clinical Nurse Leader program, and to utilize my education to further improve the care we provide to patients.

What motivated you to become a Student Ambassador for the Compassionate Care Initiative?
I believe that excellent patient care begins with self-care.  I have learned much about the benefits of mindfulness and resiliency through my own self-guided practice in recent years. I am especially excited for the opportunity to connect with other students, professors, colleagues, and health system employees to promote the organization's mission of compassion. My hope is that we can work to eliminate the stigma that can be attached to mental health promotion, and develop an organizational culture that sets a precedence for health systems across the nation.

What goals do you have for implementing CCI's mission in the University Community?
Education and ease of access is one of the best ways that we can begin to see a positive change in the resiliency of the University setting. I enjoy working to promote the CCI's resources, events, and activities. I am especially excited for the range of participation that the Initiative offers. Additionally, one of my goals is to be an advocate for mental health promotion and resiliency among my peers and others that I encounter throughout my clinical education, and the years beyond.

How do you stay resilient?
I practice resiliency through mindfulness and meditation, something that I was introduced to during my recovery process after a traumatic experience. My practice has grown to incorporate yoga and service to others, which has demonstrated importance and benefits of self-care, and how easy it can be to incorporate compassionate living into everyday activities. Healthy and active living, such as running, yoga, and hiking, provide me with confidence and resiliency throughout my progress through my program of study.

Montana is a BSN student who is motivated to shift the focus of health and wellbeing away from negatives. She works with the CCI to promote and plan events that encourage resiliency and compassion for fellow students. Through meditation, whether alone or at the drop-in sessions, Montana is able to stay centered. Montana also promotes personal resiliency by attending church every Sunday and learning for the sake of itself.

What program/year in the SoN are you?

I am entering my second year in the School of Nursing and I am looking forward to what it has to throw at me this year.


What inspired you to be a nurse?

For years I have disliked hospitals. I disliked them because I knew and chose to focus on the negative events that occur within their walls. However, I know that I want to help individuals and that I am very interested in the medical field. Nurses are able to build powerful bonds with their patients, and I want that. I want to not only help fix bodies, but to help fix hearts too. Sometimes visiting doctors and hospitals can be terrifying for patients, and I want to be there for them and help them get the help they need. I want to help shift their focus away from the negative, as I have worked to do the same for myself.


What motivated you to become a part of the CCI?

As soon as I saw the flyer for CCI at an activities fair, I immediately knew that at the very least, I wanted to attend some of the events. I know quite a few people that really focus on compassionate care in their own lives and I see how that has benefited them. I had secretly wondered what I could do to meditate and help myself in the same way. I knew that working with the CCI would be able to help me in that journey. As a Student Ambassador, I am able to make myself available and promote events so that others may find some of the same skills to build their resilience and compassion.


What goals do you have for implementing the CCI mission in the University Community?

I think the best way to help implement the CCI mission is to start small. My goal is to help plan CCI events and invite my friends and the class of 2019 to attend some of the drop-in sessions that CCI makes available to the community. Hopefully they will take the time to attend and find ways to help themselves become more resilient and compassionate to better prepare themselves for a life and career in the healthcare field.


What goals do you have for implementing the CCI mission in your professional role?

I have found great value in meditation. I had never really meditated before I started school at UVA. The guided meditations that CCI held allowed me to ease myself into meditation, which at first seemed a little intimidating. I have come to find the calm and peace that meditation offers, even from a mere 10 minute meditation. I am striving to meditate daily and to remember to take care of myself. I know that it will be hard to make myself available for others to the best of my ability when I don’t take time to focus on myself first. I also want to help those around me to remember to take care of themselves.


How do you stay resilient?

There are so many things I do to stay resilient. I attend church every Sunday to build a foundation in my religion. I talk to friends to make sure that I don’t isolate myself. I am constantly learning and searching for truth. Learning is one thing that I have found so important to staying resilient. I learn for the sake of learning. I have found learning to be a healthy alternative instead of focusing on negative things that occur throughout my day. It is a way to switch channels to something more uplifting and helpful.

Corinne Roberts is a first year in the School of Medicine. She attended UVA as an undergraduate as well, where she studied Neuroscience. In her gap years, she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, worked in an orthopedic clinic, and lived and worked at a yoga ashram. She seeks to incorporate her passions for nature and mindfulness with her ambitions to provide compassionate care through medicine.

What inspired you to pursue clinical care?

I frequently found myself as my friends' go-to person whenever they were dealing with a stressful situation. Supporting friends through difficult times allowed for much deeper connections and strengthened my empathy. When I started gaining exposure to the medical field, I witnessed the beauty of the relationship between compassionate care providers and vulnerable patients. I was inspired to become a physician that could make a meaningful impact on the lives of many patients.

What motivated you to become a Student Ambassador for the Compassionate Care Initiative?      

Meditation and yoga have had a profoundly positive impact on my life. Practicing mindfulness daily allows me to be more present and connected with myself, the people around me, and the environment. I wish to encourage mindfulness in others and connect with like-minded people.

What goals do you have for implementing the CCI mission in the University Community? 

My goal is to encourage my community to be more mindful and positive and to reduce the stress levels of my peers. I currently lead meditation sessions once a week through the student organization C.A.L.M. I also inform my peers of my practice and encourage daily meditation.

How do you stay resilient?

I ground myself with a few daily routines, which includes morning meditation and evening journaling. I try to take a step back when I find myself becoming too focused on school and go for a walk in the woods or read some poetry. I try to be aware of what situations give me energy and what situations consume it in order to use my energy wisely.