DNP Student Spotlight: Sarah Dowd
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program '22
The effects of COVID on our profession have made it even more critical that we join together and remain ready to fight for safe working conditions, fair wages, and a health care system that will not allow our most vulnerable patients to sustain disproportionately higher mortality rates for everything from cardiovascular disease to coronavirus infection.
Please tell us a bit about yourself; where are you from, and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m originally from Lansing, Mich., but have lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. for nearly 10 years. In my free time I am active in my union, the New York State Nurses Association; I spend my time organizing with other public-sector nurses for improvements in our working conditions that create safer healing conditions for our patients. I organize with other nurses to realize our shared vision for a health care system that provides equitable care for all New Yorkers. Our current two-tiered system corrals the poor and marginalized into under-resourced health care settings while wealthier patients receive premier health care only a stone's throw away.
Why did you decide to pursue nursing, and why did you choose Columbia?
I decided to pursue nursing because the reproduction of socioeconomic inequalities in the health care system was particularly offensive to me when I understood the systemic consequences it has on working-class people for the enrichment of a few corporate investors. I realized nurses are particularly well situated to intervene and make demands for change as a massive section of the health care system. I chose to attend Columbia because it is a well-resourced institution. I was sure I would receive an excellent education. And I did.
How has the pandemic affected your experience as a nursing student, and your feelings about being a nurse?
Nursing is harder than ever in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. While nursing wages have skyrocketed, we have also lost a lot of nurses to retirement and career change. Nurses are burnt out, exacerbating our already longstanding national nursing shortage. The effects of COVID on our profession have made it even more critical that we join together and remain ready to fight for safe working conditions, fair wages, and a health care system that will not allow our most vulnerable patients to sustain disproportionately higher mortality rates for everything from cardiovascular disease to coronavirus infection.
What are your next steps after graduation?
I am working as a nurse practitioner in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Hospital. I hope to continue to improve my clinical practice using the education I received. I plan to continue organizing with other nurses for a health care system that is free of profit-motive. Perhaps in the shorter term, I plan to safely deliver my first baby this coming June.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If anything I’ve said above speaks to you: consider joining a union and organizing with other nurses. We are stronger when we are united.