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Caring for humanity, around the globe

Meet Elizabeth from Rhode Island


What is Nursing? For Elizabeth Yates, nursing is “caring for humanity”. The senior from Warwick, RI has spent her time at Villanova experiencing and understanding what that really means.

It wasn’t always so clear to her, nor was her decision to become a nurse.  It wasn’t until her senior year of high school when she experienced a life-changing event that she realized nursing was the right choice.

Elizabeth was sending applications to nursing and education programs when suddenly, the unthinkable happened. While on a family ski vacation, her brother suffered a traumatic brain injury. She became immersed in hospital life, getting a closer look at nursing. Just like any profession, she felt there were nurses who were good at their jobs and others who didn’t make quite the same impact. She wanted to be one of those nurses that made a difference and decided then and there to come to Villanova.

Sadly, Elizabeth’s brother passed away her freshman year at Villanova after a 15-month long battle but she continues to work hard towards making a difference and becoming that exceptional nurse.

Working towards that goal, Elizabeth’s time at Villanova has included involvement in several volunteer, service and educational opportunities.  Her sophmore year, she helped build homes in Georgia through Campus Ministry’s Habitat for Humanity. That summer, she traveled to Cadiz, Spain to study Spanish for six weeks. Her trip, partially funded by a Connelly-Delouvrier Scholarship, sparked her interest in the language and jumped started the credits she needed to work toward a minor in Spanish.


Elizabeth added to her international experiences with two trips to Nicaragua in 2012 with the College of Nursing. Her time there where she helped to educate local health promoters left quite an impact, leading to her current independent research project. Partnering with Assistant Professor Bette Keech, PhD, RN, Elizabeth is investigating the presence of Parkinson’s disease in rural communities, specifically Nicaragua. She will be returning to Central America this fall and once again in March to continue her volunteer efforts.

“I think Villanova greatly broadened my healthcare prospective, especially on a global scale.  I have been made very aware of the need and opportunities for nurses internationally. I have learned about the social duty of a nurse to people both here in the states and abroad. Nursing is about caring for humanity,” Elizabeth explains.

Gaining some clinical experience, Elizabeth spent the summer of 2013 in an externship at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC, a hospital that treats patients from across the globe. There in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit she worked as a patient care tech and continues this work a few weekends a month during the school year.  Upon graduation, she plans to work in a pediatric hospital, and continue international trips providing healthcare to underserved communities.