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Because health is a human right

Nursing student Emily Bearse arrives at the hospital at 7:45 a.m. on a Monday for her first extended shift. During the day, she assists with two C-sections. In the middle of the night, she is awakened to attend a delivery. Disoriented and trying to remember her clinical training, she experiences a burst of adrenaline when she walks into the room and faces the laboring woman. She focuses on the task at hand.

"Everything is on. I want to be there for the mom and encourage her to push the way she naturally wants to push. At the same time I’m thinking about what I need to do with my hands to help the baby come out," says Bearse.

That night Bearse delivers two babies — two of the forty births required by the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing for graduation.

Driving home the next morning at 6:30 a.m., Bearse reviews the births in her head: the women’s laboring positions, how she placed her hands and applied pressure, and the amazing moment when she handed the baby to her new mother.

"Every woman is different. Every birth is different," she says. "It is an incredible honor that the woman lets you be a part of that."

A nurse-midwife graduate student, Bearse hopes to combine her nurse-midwifery expertise with a public health perspective to make system-level changes that will help a large number of people. Already equipped with a master’s degree in public health, she was able to earn a bachelor of science in nursing with the support of the Woodruff Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship with a policy and leadership component. During Campaign Emory, donors gave $225 million directly to scholarship support.

Full story in Emory Magazine »

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