Faith and family inspire a career

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Senior nursing student Abi Wilson (left, with classmate Megan Cadematori) enjoyed her international field experience in nursing in Galway, Ireland after sophomore year. She embodies the spirit of Villanova volunteerism as she balances a challenging nursing curriculum with local and global service trips.

 

At the age of three, Abigail Wilson’s younger cousin Greg was diagnosed with leukemia. Bravely battling through treatments, he lost the fight six years later. Abigail would often visit Greg while sick in the hospital or while receiving treatments at the clinic. Witnessing the nurses’ compassionate care and seeing the impact they had, not only on his experiences in the hospital, but also his young life, was inspiring. It was in these moments that Abigail felt she had found her calling.  

Though it was watching the nurses’ attentive care to her young, vulnerable cousin that inspired her to choose a career in nursing, the desire to care for others was not something foreign to this New England native— her life had always been driven by passion for service.  This, further strengthened by her devout faith, had a huge impact in her choice of higher education.

 “Everyone talks about the ‘community’, but it really is remarkable how Villanovans come together in support,” she says. Abigail –a senior-remembers feeling that sense of community the minute she walked on campus. That, along with Villanova’s commitment to excellence with an education rooted in compassion and service, convinced Abigail that she had found her new home for the next four years.

Abi Wilson

Abigail travelled five hours from her home of Paxton, Mass., a town just some 50 miles west of Boston, and immediately immersed herself in the Villanova and nursing community. As freshman, she worked with children in Philadelphia through various programs and volunteered with Special Olympics as well.  Each year, she had gone on various local and global service trips. As a freshman she went on a freshman-only Habit for Humanity trip to Pittsboro, NC; as a sophomore she travelled to the Dominican Republic to work with Orphanage Outreach; in junior year she co-led a trip to Chicago working with Inner City Teach Corps helping in schools; and this Spring is headed to Chulucanas, Peru as part of her health promotion clinical.

Along with service, Campus Ministry has played a key role in Abigail’s time here at Villanova because faith has always been an important part of her life. Despite a busy schedule, she is a Eucharistic minister and has participated in other opportunities offered. Her freshman year she went on Freshman Escape – an opportunity for students to reflect on their Villanova experiences together, explore their faith and meet new friends on a weekend getaway led by upperclassmen. Last fall, she participated in Search, an interactive student-led retreat that gives Villanovans a time away from campus to reflect on their lives.

Reflection led Abigail to uncover her future as a nurse. The time with her cousin ignited this passion, but her experiences in the College of Nursing had only solidified that decision.

She spent six weeks in the summer after her sophomore year travelling abroad to Galway, Ireland and working in the pediatric-sub-specialty clinic at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester as a patient care technician. Most recently, she worked at an overnight camp in New Hampshire in the infirmary with three RNs, caring for children ages 5-11.

Abigail notes, “My summer nursing experiences were some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.  I had so many opportunities to learn from great nurses who were passionate about their work; I hope to emulate their practice someday.”