Pin Donor: Eileen Smit ’69, MS ’77
Born and raised in Nigeria, Chinaza Nwosa started college at the young age of 16. “I was not sure what profession I wanted to pursue, but I knew it was something in the health care field, but not medicine” she says. “Since childhood, I had always been full of compassion, empathy, and was very knowledgeable. I had the opportunity to shadow all aspects of nursing in my junior year of college, and that was when I felt the strong calling. I had never felt satisfaction from any other thing I had done.”
Nwosa first earned a degree in biology, followed by a master’s in business administration and management, with the goal of being in a managerial nursing position in the future.
With that objective in mind, she began her studies at the School of Nursing as a member of the Accelerated BSN program, which she describes as a tough, but rewarding experience. “This program is challenging,” says Sherrelle Jackson, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, clinical assistant professor at the School of Nursing. “She has shown great improvement throughout the rigorous ABSN program and has continued to demonstrate a performance of professional skills and behaviors that portray the profession of nursing. She overcame obstacles by seeking guidance from faculty, peers, and clinical site preceptors, and has shown continued growth and passion for the nursing profession. She will be a great addition to the field.”
“Finishing my nursing degree further grounded me in resilience, excellence, and advocacy,” Nwosa explains. “After graduation, I will be working in a cardiac care unit, with the hopes of going on to be a critical/family nurse practitioner.” Nwosa also notes that she would like to pursue working in a nurse educator role in the future and hopes to partner with non-governmental organizations in Nigeria to provide cardiac care to the populations challenged with economic disparities.
Nwosa received her pin from Eileen Smit ’69, MS ’77, who says that she has never regretted her decision to enter into nursing. “I wanted to have a career that involved helping others and was academically challenging,” she says. “My interest was always in psychiatrics nursing. After spending my first year as a VISTA volunteer in Galveston, Texas, I spent the next years working in inpatient/outpatient psychiatric nursing settings.”
After earning her master of science in nursing, she then had a 37-year career as a nursing faculty member at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. “I loved the creativity and flexibility of teaching,” says Smit. “In 2010, I received a Distinguished Faculty Award.”
Smit made the decision to donate her pin because she would like to pass along the pride that she felt when wearing it. “I would like someone who will be practicing nursing to have and wear it. I have always been proud of being a UW graduate.”
Smit looks back on her time at the UW–Madison School of Nursing fondly, noting that it is difficult to pinpoint one favorite memory from her time at the University. “I remember nursing faculty who had high expectations but supported me. I remember patients that helped me learn the joy of nursing. And I remember walking two miles to campus from my apartment when it was -10 degrees for a seven a.m. clinical.”
When asked what advice Smit has for School of Nursing graduates, she says, “Keep caring. We are with people at some of the most important moments of their life. What we do and how we do it matters and makes a difference.”
Nwosa will take that to heart as she embarks on her nursing journey and is grateful for the honor of being chosen to carry on the tradition. “Receiving this nursing pin from such a prestigious body is an immense honor,” she says. “I am beyond touched and extremely grateful. I will put in my all to continue the legacy of the Nurses Alumni Organization. Like John Ruskin said, ‘The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.’”