Student Stories

When it comes to nursing compassion – like mother, like daughter

Many accelerated nursing students at Marian University come from a family of healthcare professionals. Within that group, dozens have a mother who is a nurse. Not only was Mom a role model growing up, she often becomes the coach as her sons and daughters pursue a nursing degree.

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, we wanted to look inside one mother/daughter team to get a glimpse of their inspiration.

We caught up with Rachael Brown, who started our program this past fall.  She completed her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Southern Illinois in May 2013, started the accelerated nursing program in Indianapolis in August of 2013 and is scheduled to graduate with her BSN in Dec ’14.

Rachael, let’s start with your mom. Tell us about her nursing journey.

My mom, Loraine, graduated with a BSN from the IU School of Nursing in 1986. Ironically, it was a co-op program with Marian College at the time. She started her career on the GYN/Oncology unit at St.Vincent.

Loraine Ethics

Over the past 28 years with St.Vincent, she has served in a variety of clinical and leadership positions. She currently serves as Executive Director of Mission Integration for St.Vincent. In her role, she helps affirm the Catholic identity and mission to serve the poor and vulnerable.

My mom will complete her master’s in health care mission from Aquinas Institute of Theology in December of 2014. She even leads leadership sessions for Marian students (seen here).

Did you ever consider nursing as your first degree?

In high school, while I had great respect for my mother’s profession as a nurse, I didn’t think it was for me.  I was a student athlete and played volleyball in college all four years. It was my sophomore year when I decided to combine my active lifestyle with the love of the body and athletics and chose to major in exercise science. My goal was to become a personal trainer.

At what point did you start thinking about nursing?

It was my junior year, I was home on break and visiting my mom at the hospital. I was thinking about how she was so passionate about her work and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. I started wondering how I could achieve that same passion as a personal trainer.

During my senior year, I was contemplating my next move. I met with Kris Shallenberger  from Marian. We talked about how I could leverage the quality education I received from SIU in exercise science towards a nursing degree. She connected me with an advisor, and the rest is history.

What advice have you received from your mom about surviving nursing school?

Mom tells stories of pulling ‘all-nighters’ at Denny’s, drinking coffee for hours as she prepared for exams.  She reminds me while nursing school is hard, the rewards last a lifetime.  She shares stories of making a difference in people’s lives; whether the clinical care provided, words spoken, prayers shared, and often, just listening to patients and their families. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the encouragement and support of my mom (and dad!).


rachael mom If you had to choose the top three values learned from your mom to bring to your nursing career, what would they be?

  1. Compassion is always required of a nurse in handling the lives of others enduring their journeys.
  2. Confidence in your work. If you do not believe in yourself then how do you expect your patients or doctors to believe in you?
  3. Perseverance in the sense of fighting for the patient and those who cannot stand up for themselves. It is our responsibility as nurses to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves.





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