“From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew I would call this place home,” said Brooklyn T. Russick ’19. Her curiosity about Shenandoah University began with her mother, Nancy Bates Russick ’90, who is an alumna of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. Her mother shared her stories about and experiences at Shenandoah with Russick, and from this she knew Shenandoah was something in which she was interested.
“From the friendly faces to the beautiful landscape of campus, it just felt like something special,” said Russick. “The small classes and endless resources provided to students made the transition into collegiate life a smooth and easy experience.”
Russick’s fondest memories of Shenandoah are the friendships she made, professors she learned from and the grilled cheese from the Hornet Grille in the Brandt Student Center. Although these are just a few things that stick out to Russick, she also likes to think of her four years at Shenandoah as one big fond memory.
“Shenandoah is a small but mighty community,” said Russick. “We are so diverse, but can all come together over our connection to this school. You will create lifelong memories and relationships here, and opportunities you never would have expected. I will forever consider this place my home.”
While at Shenandoah, Russick was very involved in clubs and her major, which included being a writing tutor for the Writing Center, the secretary of the Public Health Club, a member of the Student Advancement Relations Society, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and a student mentor in the nursing mentorship program. She was also the recipient of the Dayton Alumni Scholarship in 2016 and received the Dean’s Undergraduate Award for the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing during the school’s pinning ceremony in December 2019.
Russick is a registered nurse (RN) in the orthopedic unit at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Virginia. As a RN in the orthopedic unit, she manages the care of patients with musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. “I care for patients ranging from scheduled joint replacements in the preoperative and postoperative phases, all the way to traumatic injuries from motor vehicle accidents,” said Russick. “I perform detailed assessments, provide necessary treatments, act as a patient care advocate, and ensure the overall health and well-being of my patients.”
The most rewarding part of Russick’s career is being able to provide joy in unique ways to her patients. She had one experience with a patient that she will never forget. She and her colleagues were treating an elderly dementia patient who had a fractured hip and was in extreme pain. The patient was disoriented to herself and her situation, but the team discovered she had a love for all things Christmas. So Russick started to sing “Jingle Bells” and the patient’s eyes lit up and she began to sing along without missing a beat. “We sang and we danced with her, and it was a moment I will never forget. I was so blessed to be able to have done something so small, yet brought so much happiness.”
Shenandoah helped prepare Russick for her career in many aspects, but the most important was her professors, who have now become lifelong connections and mentors she can turn to for guidance. “Because of connections and experiences I have had at Shenandoah, I was given the opportunity to work as a nurse extern at Winchester Medical Center in the summer of 2019, and was offered a position on my preferred unit (orthopedics) months before graduation,” said Russick.
Russick’s advice to students is: “Even on your bad days, find the joy in the fact that we care for people at their worst. There will be days that are difficult, but nursing is a profession where all of the good tremendously outweighs the bad. Trust your gut, fight for your patients, and never stop having the passion and drive for what led you to a career in nursing.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations