When Emma Durham learned her former elementary Catholic school principal had to move to Texas following surgery for a broken hip and wrist, she didn’t hesitate to offer to help.
Durham flew to Texas with two nuns to provide assistance and helped show others how to care for the patient as she continued her recovery. She even spent three days in a convent, which she said was interesting.
“I had the great pleasure and blessing to count on Emma’s services as she accompanied and assisted Sister Armida and myself during our trip to Texas,” Sister Rosa Maria Ojeda, principal of Bishop Schad Regional School in Vineland, New Jersey, wrote in a letter of recommendation. “I was able to see her advanced knowledge and willingness to serve others above and beyond. I was so pleased to see how much care, love and patience she demonstrated while assisting Sister Armida not only during the trip, but also at the nursing home while Sister Armida was getting adjusted in her new home.”
Durham, from Millville, New Jersey, is a senior nursing student at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She is on track to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and will be eligible to take the exam to become a registered nurse. Durham was selected as The Daily Record’s Leading Women 2018 Scholarship Recipient and will receive $2,000 for educational expenses.
She is the only student in the nursing program at Notre Dame who is focused on geriatrics. But she wants to work to change the view of geriatric care, especially the negative image that nursing homes often have.
“I knew that was the field I wanted to focus on,” Durham said. “Geriatrics doesn’t attract a lot of young people. But a lot of geriatric patients are like a pediatric patient, only larger.”
In the final spring semester, nursing students complete a practicum experience in an area of interest. Durham, with the help of the school, was able to secure a position on the acute care for the elderly unit at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She will complete 158 hours with the unit before graduation.