Masters Direct Entry Student Profile: Belinda Samuda
Columbia has nurtured my passion by creating and cultivating a forward-leaning nursing curriculum that is not shy in addressing past and current racial injustices and disparities within the nursing and health care professions.
Please tell us a bit about yourself; where are you from, and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I was born in Brooklyn; raised in Harlem; attended Spelman College, a historically black college in Atlanta; and returned home to NYC to attend Fordham University School of Law. Most of my legal career was spent as a public interest attorney working for various governmental agencies. In my spare time, I love to travel, cook, binge watch British television shows, and attend live events such as theater on Broadway, concerts, and cultural and historical lectures.
Why did you decide to pursue nursing, and why did you choose Columbia?
My journey to a career in nursing unknowingly began when my mother became seriously ill. It was the caretaking journey that I took with my mother that changed the trajectory of my life. After my mother’s passing, I reflected on our last years together and I decided that I wanted my life to be one of advocacy and service as a nursing professional. I wanted to emulate the wonderful nurses I met along the way who gave me peace of mind and assurance that I could leave my mother’s side knowing that the nurse on duty would ensure that my mother was well cared for in my absence.
I chose to attend Columbia because as an attorney and in my most recent position as an assistant director of a multimillion-dollar-generating Harlem day habilitation program that caters to the intellectually/developmentally disabled adult population, I knew that earning an MSN at Columbia would best prepare me academically and professionally to serve as an advocate and leader within nursing.
What are you passionate about, and how has being a student at Columbia Nursing allowed you to follow that passion?
My caretaking journey with my mother led me to nursing, but the COVID-19 pandemic, the disproportionate death rate of Black Americans due to COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many other Black Americans crystallized within me a passion to use my voice to advocate for the equitable and wholistic care of the traditionally underserved.
Columbia has nurtured my passion by creating and cultivating a forward-leaning nursing curriculum that is not shy in addressing past and current racial injustices and disparities within the nursing and health care professions. Additionally, the nursing curriculum challenges students to internally and continuously self-reflect so that as nurses and providers we can render unbiased, anti-racist, person-centered and trauma-informed care.
Truthfully, it was my clinical rotation at the NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center and my inspirational instructor Carmel Reidy, RN, that further nurtured my passion and inspired me to seek admission into the Doctor of Nursing program, with a specialty in psychiatric mental health. I am very excited about continuing my journey at Columbia Nursing and earning my DNP in psychiatric mental health.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Columbia Nursing?
My favorite memories of my time at Columbia Nursing include my participation in the Pathways to Leadership and Advancement in Nursing (PLAN) Program under the auspices of Dean Judy Wolfe. The support, encouragement, and friendships I have experienced and gained within the PLAN Scholars Program were integral to my success in completing the MDE program.
What are your next steps after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to successfully complete the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain my RN licensure. Thereafter, I plan on taking a celebratory graduation vacation before seeking employment as a registered nurse and beginning my DNP coursework.