Meet our students: Kelsey Hirsch

Meet our students: Kelsey Hirsch

Hometown: Spokane, WA

Year/Program: 3rd year PhD in Nursing Science

Research/Areas of Interest: Healthcare access and healthcare experiences among currently or formally incarcerated individuals

Do you have a faculty mentor? If so, whom? Yes, Dr. Elaine Walsh

Kelsey Hirsch

Scholarship Recipient? If so, which scholarship? Yes, Warren G. Magnuson Scholar for Nursing.

Why did you choose nursing? Nursing has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around “caring for” the manikins at the college of nursing where my mom worked and removing the sutures from my dad’s head after he was in a car accident. Throughout my life, there was never any activity that brought me more joy than helping to bandage a friend’s knee or comforting a classmate. When it came time to choose a major in college, I tried to break free of my parents’ paths of nursing and psychology, but the truth is that nursing is in my blood and psychology is the basis of much of my research! Everything I love about health – the family-centered care, holistic focus and importance of education, and the universal art of caring – is in nursing. It is an incredibly privileged and meaningful profession.

What has been an unforgettable experience during your time at the School of Nursing?
I have had so many amazing opportunities at UW, it’s hard to choose. From the many wonderful experiences as a teaching assistant, including an exploration seminar to India, to the adventures with my classmates on our annual PhD retreat to Friday Harbor, my time here has been incredible. I think what stands out most as unforgettable to me though is when I was able to attend a nursing research conference last year with my mother, as colleagues of sorts. I have always known she was amazing but being able to see her in her element as a nurse researcher and educator was such an honor; I will never forget the pride I felt watching her swap stories with other amazing nurse leaders.

How has your experience at nursing helped you with your career trajectory?  After I graduate from the PhD program, I hope to find a university teaching position in the Seattle/Tacoma area. My dream is to teach classes related to philosophy, ethics, care of vulnerable/at-risk populations, or research methods while continuing my own research endeavors. I hope that my many experiences as a teaching assistant, learning from some incredibly skilled professors and nurse scientists will help me be prepared to teach in my own classroom one day. As soon as I graduated nursing school, I knew that as excited as I was to be a nurse, I was even more excited to teach nursing. I believe it so valuable to devote our energy to educating the next generation of nurses to provide holistic, high quality and equitable care to all people in all walks of life.

Anything else you would like to share? I am so honored to receive the Warren G. Magnuson Scholarship for Nursing. As much as it may seem like my path in nursing was clearly delineated and smooth, I had to overcome many trials and failures to get where I am. It feels amazing to be recognized for that hard work, and to realize the faith that others have in my future. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me along the way, I would not be where I am without the support of others.