Rachel Lehouillier '15 can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a nurse. She used time-management skills to juggle cross country and SNA with the traditionally demanding nursing major.

Nursing Grad Fulfilling Lifelong Dream

Rachel Lehouillier '15 used time-management skills to juggle four years of cross country and volunteering with the traditionally demanding nursing major.

Nursing Grad Fulfilling Lifelong Dream

Rachel Lehouillier ’15 of Belchertown, Mass., can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a nurse.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to go into nursing -- ever since middle school, really,” she said. “I’ve always been intrigued by the human body: how the heart pumps the blood and everything -- that’s really fascinating to me. I remember I got a human anatomy book for Christmas when I was in middle school. I don’t think I understood what was on the pages as well as I do now.”

Lehouillier always admired her aunts and cousins who were nurses, and she witnessed the satisfaction they gained from helping patients every day. She wanted to follow in their footsteps. And Elms College has given her a strong foundation for her dream: As a very recent nursing graduate, she is on her way to the family nurse practitioner master’s program at Boston College.

“I want to go into the primary-care setting,” Lehouillier said. “I want to get to know my patients on a personal level and really encourage them to take self-interest in their own health.”

Her favorite class at Elms was pathophysiology, because it builds on studies in anatomy by looking at how diseases progress. “I also like pharmacology, too -- to see how the drugs work in the body,” Lehouillier said.

She was a cross country runner in the fall and spring seasons for all four years at Elms, and her deep interest in health and physiology is related to her love of running. “I’m a big runner,” she said. “I like that it relieves stress, and it’s a good workout. It works everything.”

Majoring in nursing keeps students extremely busy, but Lehouillier used time-management techniques to succeed both academically and athletically. She even was named to the NECC (New England Collegiate Conference) Academic All-Conference team in her senior year, an honor that requires student-athletes to post a minimum GPA of 3.4. She also had to place in the top 10 finishers in the conference race. “I was ninth,” she said. “That’s been my goal. My time was 6:57 per mile.”

Sports are time-consuming, but that factor can actually help students succeed, Lehouillier said. “It helps with prioritizing and time management. Because it does take so much time,” she pointed out. “Cross country starts at 4 p.m. every day, and I wouldn’t get home until probably 7:30 or 8. And then the races are all day on Saturdays.”

Although sports and school crowded Lehouillier’s schedule, she still found time to get involved on campus in other ways. She was copresident of the Student Nurses Association, for which she organized the toy-donation drive at Christmas. She also helped with blood drives every semester and a bone-marrow drive. “We also do some fundraisers, and then we donate that money to Relay for Life,” she said.

Getting involved is good for networking and friend making, she noted. “Also, with the SNA, you connect with other nurses, so if you have questions for an upperclassman or something, you can ask.”

On a personal level, giving back is important to Lehouillier, too. “I think I’ll always be active in my community -- helping out at blood drives in the future, or continuing on with Toys for Tots, something like that,” she said.