Stacie Chance, the 2017 Golden Lamp Award winner, took a winding path to get to where she is today, but now that she’s fulfilling her life-long dream, there’s no deterring her from her ultimate goal.
The Oregon Health & Science University honoree is focused on supporting the health and wellness of her community. To that end, she will start this fall in Georgetown University’s family nurse practitioner program to build on the skills she’s learned on the Monmouth campus.
Chance said she has always wanted to go into nursing. The Dallas native served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman and was selected for the ROTC nursing program. However, life took her on a 20-year detour. Finally, in 2013, she decided to get back to her dream.
“After my children were grown, I decided it was time for me to follow my heart and pursue my dream of becoming a nurse,” she explained. “I resigned my position as Health and Human Services Director for Polk County to follow this dream.”
She had researched top-rated nursing programs across the nation and was happy to find OHSU’s Monmouth campus, which opened in 2008, right next door.
“I think it’s remarkable that this program exists,” she said. “It was a nice fit with Western – that this top-ranked nursing program was located in my community.”
It turns out her background in social services has proved useful in helping her make plans for the future. She is devoted to the idea of supporting patients’ whole health, not just reacting to their acute care needs. By focusing on the overall health and wellness of a community, Chance believes, she can fulfill her vision.
“Even in my pursuit of my family nurse practitioner role, my goal is to practice and serve my community,” she said. “Once I finish school and become a clinician, I hope to serve the communities I live in. That’s really important to me. My work in social services and really everything I’ve done in my career path has revolved around contributing to my community.”
Another of Chance’s main focuses during her health care education has been leadership in nursing. The importance of empowering nurses to take a leadership role in health care can’t be understated, she said.
“In my past experience working in social services, I really had the opportunity to see when nurses don’t step forward as leaders and how detrimental that can be in the health and wellness of communities and funding for programs,” she said. “It’s so critical to be an advocate and not lose sight of how important that role is for nurses. Our voice can make a difference.”
One of the reasons Chance chose Georgetown’s nurse practitioner program is its devotion to cura personalis, Latin for “care for the entire person.” The concept suggests customized care according to the needs of others, a respect for each person’ unique circumstances and an appreciation for his or her strengths.
“The Georgetown program takes the foundation of what OHSU has instilled in me and springboards off of that, “ Chance said. “As I work to develop my clinician skills, (the program) looks at caring for the whole and service to others.”
Looking ahead 10 years, Chance might well find herself back on the WOU campus. In addition to working as a family nurse practitioner, she can see herself leading a classroom.
“If my goals work out where I hope to head, I would like to be nurse practitioner part time and return in the capacity of educator for nursing,” she said. “It would be wonderful if I could pay it forward with the OHSU program at the Monmouth campus. That would be the ultimate goal for me.”
The Golden Lamp Award is based on the American Nurses Association Code for Professional Nurses and the Florence Nightingale Pledge. It is given in recognition of exemplary demonstration of scholarship, leadership, professional commitment, innovative contributions and humanitarian ideals.