Mother Knows Best

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A shared experience as members of inaugural classes, 30 years apart

Annina Griggs was teaching wind surfing in Germany in the 1980s when a letter came in the  mail that would change her life. It was an application to the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing sent by her mother. She took the hint,  soon returning to Baltimore to become a member of the first bachelor of science class to graduate from the program in 1986.

Nearly 30 years later, her own daughter, Marielle, feels a similar wind in her sails as she prepares to become one of the first students in the Master’s Entry into Nursing program that will debut in September. She too, hadn’t originally thought much of nursing, graduating from Towson University with a degree in political science. “I think I actually avoided nursing because I grew up hearing so much about it,” Marielle says. But it was on a trip to Kenya with the Peace Corps that her eyes were opened. “We worked in a maternal/child

Annina and Marielle Griggs

Photo by Chris Hartlove

health hospital, training community public health workers to be doulas. I loved encouraging people and showing them that help was available. I knew then I wanted to pursue an interest in women’s health.”

For Mom, there was no question that “Hopkins was the best,” but Marielle needed to discover that on her own. “I looked at a lot of other schools. I wanted to know my options, but I found that no other school offered the same international opportunities, the support for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and the program options that Hopkins did.” And she admits that it was the Master’s Entry program and the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees and midwifery that solidified her decision to come to Hopkins.

“I think the possibilities are endless with this new degree,” says Marielle of the Master’s Entry. Annina agrees, seeing how much healthcare has changed since she first graduated. “The profession has really skyrocketed out, and there is nothing a nurse can’t do. I’ve seen that patients want nurses to explain what the doctor just told them, but in terms they can understand. To have nurses who can guide and comfort and be even stronger leaders in care will be wonderful.”

Marielle, too, feels like the pieces are falling  into place. If it hadn’t been for her Hopkins roots, she might have ended up in Washington pursuing a government or law career, but just as it was for Annina Griggs all those years ago, nursing seemed to find her—with a little help from Mom, of course.

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