Transformation [ˌtrænsfəˈmeɪʃən]


1. a change or alteration, esp. a radical one

2. the act of transforming or the state of being transformed


One day I was a student.  A couple hundred days passed, seasons changed and changed again…  I changed and changed again, but one day, I opened my mailbox and I became [insert well-deserved drumroll] a nursing student. 

My friends had already received their acceptance letters.  Mine came two days later.  Two sleeps felt like an eternity.  Doubt crept in.  I congratulated my friends and was truly happy for them while coveting their correspondence and when mine arrived I was on-the-fence about what it contained.  I opened it gingerly.  I skimmed as fast as I could.  I was in.  Now what happens?

What happened for me was the rest of the semester, a trip abroad, an accident, life-support, and recovery.  I gathered my supplies as quickly as I could afford them.  I bought books in lieu of all else.  65 students stepped into a journey of unknowns together. 

Five days a week our 2015 cohort shares space, ideas, thoughts and concerns.  We talk in depth about readings, lectures and videos.  Articles we saw, or radio interviews we feel compelled to share are passed around, facebooked, and bulletin-boarded.  But we don’t end there…  We share candid discussions about personal experiences, family concerns, worries about washing out of the program.  Our conversations and shared experiences no longer hover on the surface.  We are becoming.  Each day as we learn more about each other, we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how we can support each other.  Little by little, we are transforming. 

Over the next few weeks we will move from being newbies in the campus setting to ‘student nurses’ in the field.  We will be carrying all of our strengths and skills with us as we practice, learn, grow and continue to transform personally and professionally into the nurses that we will one day be.

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About Heather Swift

Heather “Swifty” Swift has been Kicking mAss since 1998. At 28 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a recently single mom with two small babies on her hip. After completing treatment with the thought that cancer was in her rear view mirror she worked, locally, as a volunteer for Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance doing community outreach to be certain that no one faced cancer alone. In 2005, she had a secondary diagnosis of breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which only amped up her commitment to creating positive change and to becoming a strong and effective advocate for the young adult cancer community. Now, at age 42, Swifty, her partner, Brian, and her two teenage children work together locally, nationally and internationally to advocate for change. Swifty regularly meets with legislators to work towards tangible change in health care, legislation that addresses the needs of cancer patients, care-partners, and families. She works directly with clinicians, medical/nursing students, youth & college students, cancer support organizations and others to educate them about the special needs of young adults living with a cancer diagnosis. Swifty is passionate about providing support by connecting people living with cancer to resources, to other cancer survivors, and to mobilizing and training individuals and groups to find their inner advocate. Swifty currently works with a number of amazing, hand-selected organizations, which provide her with opportunities to educate, to advocate, and to change the conversation about cancer and to work to bring an end to the disease. A few include: LiveSTRONG, mAss Kickers, Imerman Angels, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Dusty Showers & The Second Basemen, and Stupid Cancer. Swifty is an oncology nursing student in upstate New York, loves time with her family, paddling sports, and peanut butter. She is a Virgo, but not the really anal-retentive type. Her strange fascination with superheroes makes her popular in geek circles, but it can be endearing. Swifty will be riding a llama across Oregon in July of 2012 and really does believe we can achieve and end to cancer and in world peace. Motto: Never Give Up! Favorite quote: “Our own life has to be our message.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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