NAHN scholarship. Mission trip to Puerto Rico. Clinical experience in hospital settings. Senior nursing major and bioethics minor Katherine Casado ’19 found a way to experience it all during her time at Elms.

Compassionate Care in Context

As a student nurse at Mercy Medical Center, Katherine Casado ’19 worked on the front lines of compassionate care. Floating between the ICU (intensive care unit), cardiac cath lab, and respiratory, orthopedic, and neurology floors, she realized just how much of a difference nurses can make in patients’ lives.

“It exposed me to people of all walks of life,” said the Springfield local. “To be able to be there as a nursing student, providing them care on one of their toughest days — I’ve seen that it makes a huge impact. Being part of that is really rewarding for me.”

‘One of the things that I really value from my experience here at Elms is that it’s not only about the academics, but also the chance to meet amazing people and keep those connections strong.’

Minoring in bioethics at Elms helped Katherine navigate the complex dilemmas that sometimes arise in healthcare settings.

“There’s not always a clear-cut answer to what you should do,” she said. “But you have a background idea of the principles of autonomy, beneficence, and nonmaleficence, which helps with certain situations that might not be so clear.”

NAHN Scholarship

When she was originally researching colleges, Katherine was drawn to Elms for its academic rigor.

“I really liked that the program was set up to challenge students,” she said.

Her academic success ended up bridging the gap between classroom and professional network. As a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) chapter in Massachusetts, Katherine earned a $1,000 scholarship to help fund her education.

Photo of Nursing majors Annabel Maldonado '19 (left), Luceida Cintron '21 (middle), and Katherine Casado '19 (right)

“I really believe in what they stand for,” Katherine said. “I think that there should be some diversity in the workforce. It was amazing to be part of this organization.”

Mission Trip to Puerto Rico

Having the chance to study abroad and also major in nursing isn’t a possibility at most colleges and universities. At Elms, however, nursing majors have the unique opportunity to travel abroad during spring break and volunteer on mission trips sponsored by Campus Ministry.

Photo of Katherine Casado '19 on a mission trip to Puerto Rico, March 2019

In spring 2019, Katherine visited Puerto Rico to aid the local Sisters of St. Joseph with service projects. The group interacted with kids at a local school, and also helped a family rebuild and recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“Being able to use your spring break to go to another country and do community service with a different population is something that attracted me,” Katherine said.

“My overall experience at Elms has been one that is very heartwarming to me,” she added. “You form a group of friends, and then they become kind of like family.

“Inevitably, we just form these deep bonds that I think will go beyond nursing school. That’s one of the things that I really value from my experience here at Elms. It’s not only the academics, but also the chance to meet amazing people and keep those connections strong.”