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College of Nursing

  • Jamie Lawson

Bridging the Gap

Posted December 8, 2015
By Annie Lambert, Director of Alumni Engagement
and Kate Henchy, M.Ed. candidate, USC College of Education

Over the summer, senior nursing student Jamie Lawson was able to combine her love of nursing and her passion for the Spanish culture into an entirely new nursing experience.

In her job at the University of Utah hospital in a clinic that serves a predominately Spanish-speaking population, Lawson didn’t often work one-on-one with patients. Instead, she worked with the clinic’s health promotion team on outreach and education, bridging the gap between the Spanish community and health care. She helped create the clinic’s website and put together resources that were written in both English and Spanish and able to be comprehended at different levels of education.

“It was a wonderful experience. I had never seen the public health side of nursing and I really enjoyed it,” Lawson said.

This wasn’t the first time Lawson has combined her education in nursing and Spanish. She spent two years as a trip leader with Wilderness Ventures, a company that takes children on outdoor experiences to teach leadership development, where she lead trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador. With her nursing education, Lawson was able to advocate for the kids’ health and communicate with health care providers in Spanish, something that became invaluable in easing the children’s minds if and when they got hurt.

Lawson, an honors student, is working with Dr. DeAnne Messias on her honors thesis. She has done research on nursing students’ perceived preparedness in working with patients with limited English language proficiency. 

“I see an importance in Spanish and cultural training because our country is so diverse,” said Lawson, who is minoring in Spanish.

After she graduates this year, Lawson plans to move to Salt Lake City and work for a time in nursing before continuing her education and earning her PhD. She just isn’t sure of her niche yet. 

“My biggest problem in nursing school has been that I have not disliked any rotation that I’ve had,” Lawson said. “I’m excited to find out where I end up and hope to find that something that I love more than the rest.”

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