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Sommer Scholars

Laura Haskins

  • Country of Origin: United States
  • MPH/MSN Student

AN INVESTMENT IN NURSES

When Laura Haskins graduated nursing school, she wasn’t sure how to bring her passions for nursing, oncology, and global health together.

But with that goal in mind, she spent the next five years honing her clinical nursing skills in hospital oncology wards and outpatient chemotherapy clinics, and teaching nursing aide classes for recent immigrants.

Haskins also sought out community in the Oncology Nursing Society, an international organization for cancer nurses. Through the Society, she learned about a job that seemed a perfect opportunity to merge her interests: a nurse educator position at a cancer center in Haiti supported by the nonprofit Partners in Health.

She started there in January of 2018, teaching culturally adapted oncology nursing classes and collaborating with the local cancer team on quality improvement projects at its rural teaching hospital. After nine months, she joined a larger cancer center in Rwanda, mentoring local oncology nurse educators to ensure sustainability.

After witnessing how challenges in the broader health system affected nurses’ abilities to deliver quality cancer care, Haskins realized that with more public health training—in implementation science, program evaluation, and medical anthropology—she could better serve her nursing colleagues and patients.

Haskins is now pursuing a dual MPH/MSN degree at the Bloomberg School and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

“For me, it always comes back to nursing,” she says. “If we want to improve global health in a sustainable way, we need to invest in nurses and build them up.”