Scholarship Spotlight: Sara Shayya, RN

Sara Shayya, a 2015 recipient of the Richard Bea Nursing Scholarship

We recently caught up with Sara Shayya, a 2015 recipient of the Richard J. Bea Nursing Scholarship, and graduate of Grossmont College’s Nursing Program in the same year. Today, Sara is a Registered Nurse in the Neurovascular/Stroke Unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, where she started as a nursing assistant when she was just 20 years old! Sara worked her way up as a telemetry/EKG technician, but knew she always wanted to be a nurse.

What inspires you about a career in healthcare?
“I had a handful of early experiences at Sharp Grossmont Hospital that inspired me to pursue a career in healthcare. My family immigrated here from Iraq when I was just three years old, and I remember a time when my father was sick in the hospital. Because my parents didn’t know English, I translated what the doctors and nurses were saying. One thing that always stood out to me as a little girl in the hospital setting was the nurse; I always thought they were super heroes. For me, it’s about helping other people. When I catch something in a patient after my assessment, I can discuss it with a physician, and potentially save someone’s life. There was an instance where I saved someone’s life by noticing a slight change in mental activity. As a nurse, I love knowing that I’m able to be there for a patient, provide them care, keep them safe, and advocate for them and their families.”

What has been the most exciting part of your academic experience? What about this experience has been most helpful in preparing you for your career?
“I gained the most experience from the clinical side of my education. Grossmont College is known for their clinical hour requirements, which prepares students with more bed side experience. One aspect of my education that really stood out to me was the preceptorship that provided extended field experience in a hospital setting during the last month of school. This academic experience helped me get a job right away, as well as graduate with honors and be the best nurse possible. When I got hired as an RN at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in 2016, I received additional quality training through the Hospital’s year-long New Graduate Nurse Residency program. The program is based on heavy training with a preceptor for three months before being on your own, as well as one-month training in a classroom setting which trained us and prepared us with our nurse educators.”

What would you say to a student who is thinking about applying for a health scholarship, but might need some encouragement to take a chance?
“I always encourage my peers that are still going through the program to take their chances, and not to give up, especially at the community college level. It’s more affordable, but also more competitive. The Nursing Program is challenging; if you have a lot going on in your life during your pre-nursing classes, I recommend taking one biology class at a time. Doing whatever you have to do to stick with your goal and finish is the most important part, even if you have to limit yourself to part-time work to focus on school. The scholarship definitely helped provide some motivation toward that goal.”

Sara lives in Rancho San Diego, and is continuing her education toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through online classes at the University of Texas at Arlington. She has a goal of eventually getting a Master of Science in Nursing to either teach nursing or become a nurse family practitioner. Sara also has a small business creating custom invitations for weddings and other special events. She and her husband Laith stay busy with their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Adaline, and are expecting another daughter in 2018. Sara plans on returning to bed side nursing as a part time nurse after her second child is born.

Are you pursuing a career in healthcare? We want to help you succeed! The Grossmont Healthcare District is offering nursing and health tech scholarships for a variety of health careers. Learn more about our scholarship program criteria and apply online today.

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