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Posted on May 30, 2017

USF Nursing student fulfills dream of becoming a nurse

USF Nursing student fulfills dream of becoming a nurse

From a young age, USF Nursing student Cecelia Ferguson liked the idea of becoming a nurse.

She was a teen volunteer at Florida Hospital and later gained admission to a junior internship at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital.

Between that hands-on reinforcement as an adolescent and the reality of being a caregiver for her grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s, a true love of nursing was sparked.

This spark led Ferguson to seek a degree in nursing. This spring, she graduated from USF College of Nursing earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Aging Studies from USF College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

Ferguson recently received the Leadership Legacy award from USF during the 2017 Celebration of Leadership Awards. She also earned the Alumni Nightingale Award and the Nursing Service Award at the undergraduate nursing pinning ceremony.

“Every once and while I will meet a student nurse that fills me with joy,” said Victoria Rich, PhD, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing. “Cecelia characterizes this excellence in the nursing profession. She is intelligent, innovative and inspiring. She will make USF Nursing proud!”

Ferguson was not only an outstanding student, she also stayed active on campus and in the community. She was the 2016-17 Nursing Student Association president. Through the student organization, Ferguson helped host the first annual Get the Scoop graduate school career fair, a professional seminar series, faculty & student field day, & Bull Nurses Week.

She held various leadership positions around USF including the USF Nursing Student Association, USF Student Government, USF Health Executive Student Leadership Board, and USF Student Association for Aging Studies. Ferguson was also an active member of the College of Nursing Student Council and Stampede Into Bull Nursing.

Ferguson volunteered over 500 hours with the USF Health Service Corps, Bulls Reaching Achievement in Nursing mentorship program, USF Bulls for Kids, and USF Center for Student Well-Being. “I love volunteering. It makes me feel good inside,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson was also able to maintain high honors while building her work experience. She worked three jobs throughout nursing school- as a nursing assistant at Moffitt Cancer Center and as a research assistant at USF School of Aging Studies. She also completed a year-long nurse residency known as the Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.

“Cecelia is one of the most talented, conscientious and capable students I have known in my years working with students in higher education,” said Katherine McCay, USF Nursing associate director of student affairs. “She is energetic in all her activities and is an excellent example of what a successful college student should be – dedicated, intelligent, well-spoken, driven – but still a caring individual with the ability to balance her personal, academic and professional life.”

This summer, Ferguson will be working as the camp nurse at Camp Robin Hood. She will be living in the Infirmary at Robin Hood and will treat acute illnesses and injuries and will transport children to the hospital if needed.

Ferguson plans to start her nursing career in the intensive care unit at Moffitt Cancer Center and has long-term plans of completing graduate school. Ferguson is passionate about critical care and the orchestrated thought that goes into a patient’s hourly care. Ferguson is also intrigued by oncology as cancer is prevalent in her family.