During her first job as a nurse, Shelby Pitts, MSN, RN, went to a lot of funerals for her once-patients. It was often a heartbreaking reality of treating kids with cystic fibrosis. Though it felt as if it was the most challenging way to wet her feet as a new grad, Pitts says it taught her important lessons about the profession she believes is a calling.
“You are with people during their most vulnerable times. What an honor it is to help families through the difficulties, but you can’t do it from the sidelines. You’re all in, and you do it because you love it.”
Photo by Chris Hartlove
Getting through the emotionally challenging moments of her career Pitts credits to her faith and spiritual foundation. She also says they were the guiding lights that led her to nursing in the first place.
“I was working as a clinical care tech, and one of my patients was scared about an emergency surgery he needed. He was clenching tight to his Bible, so I asked him what his favorite book in the Bible was. He immediately began to calm down and open up.”
For Pitts, that’s when the realization came. “I wanted to make connections with people and let faith make a difference for someone who is struggling.”
Now, 15 years later, Pitts cares for women preparing for childbirth. As a DNP student in the ninth cohort and a Jonas Scholar award recipient, she is developing an educational model to help Hispanic women better manage gestational diabetes through knowledge, diet, and exercise.
“I never could have imagined the doors that would open for me,” she says.
JHU Nursing Memorial Scholarship
Established in 1988 by friends and family of Minnie Stephens Ballou, Nurs 1918, of Oakham, MA; Lillian Long, Nurs 1931, of Willow, PA; and F. Grainger Marburg, former trustee of Hopkins Hospital and the Peabody Conservatory. Increased by annual contributions from many others in memory of classmates or friends.
Learn more at nursing.jhu.edu/financialaid.