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Rebecca Dunn

2555

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am a SRNA at the University of South Carolina. I am pursuing a life that will continue to challenge me and force me to grow into the best person I can be. Becoming a CRNA has been a life long goal of mine, and I am honored to be the youngest student in UofSC's first doctoral cohort of 2024. With my advanced degree, I hope to give back by joining an organization such as Heart Care International that provides life saving surgeries to children with congenital heart defects. I strive to better myself each day so that I can be a fierce friend, loyal partner, compassionate nurse and dedicated student. All my life I have been a driven individual and I have used that fire to set myself up for success. I am blessed to be where I am today.

Education

University of South Carolina-Columbia

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2021 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing
  • GPA:
    4

Mississippi University for Women

Bachelor's degree program
2017 - 2019
  • Majors:
    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing
  • GPA:
    3.7
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      Anesthesia provider

    • Travel ICU RN

      Supplemental Health Care
      2020 – 20211 year
    • ICU staff RN

      Northside Hospital
      2019 – 20201 year

    Sports

    Equestrian

    Club
    2015 – 20194 years

    Cheerleading

    Varsity
    2012 – 20153 years

    Awards

    • Leadership Award

    Research

    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing

      Mississippi University for Women — Student Researcher
      2017 – 2019

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      YWAM — Spread the word of Christ while building a family of 11 a new home
      2017 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Lillian's & Ruby's Way Scholarship
    My name is Rebecca Dunn, and I am a twenty-four-year-old from Atlanta Georgia. I come from a family who values personal integrity, honesty and compassion above all else. I grew up in a small church in Sandy Springs, and every summer I looked forward to mission trips to various communities around the world. The insurmountable joy that I received from giving back to those less fortunate led me to discover my passion for nursing. I yearned to be the one thing that made patients smile in what could be the most difficult time of their lives. My knowledge of nurse anesthesia was limited until one clinical day in nursing school where I was sent to the OR for a triple coronary artery bypass graft. I was placed at the head of the bed with the nurse anesthetist and given a stool. Picture a little nursing student in white scrubs standing on her tippy toes to just barely be able to peer over the plastic screen. All the while the CRNA was explaining to me what he was doing to keep the patient stable. I was fascinated. Then, as the surgeon was prepared to start the cardiopulmonary bypass machine, I was able to watch the heart stop in his hands. It was the most surreal experience of my life and I began to cry. Everything in nursing school seemed extraordinary, but this was something different. I felt honored to be a part of such intelligence and expertise. I was able to witness the human heart stop and a machine on the other side of the room continue to circulate the patient’s blood throughout his body. What blew me away the most was the nurse anesthetist who was working what seemed like behind the scenes to keep the patient hemodynamically stable. From that moment onward I set a goal to become a CRNA. For me a nurse anesthetist is the unsung hero of the OR; not only keeping patients hemodynamically stable during a procedure but meticulously monitoring in order to avoid adverse outcomes. I am currently a freshman in the first Doctoral Nurse Anesthesia cohort at the University of South Carolina. We are in the third semester where we are diving deeper into anesthesia principles and the physiology of the body. As we learn in greater detail about skills such as intubation and induction, I gain a sense of pride that I have never felt before. I am where I have dreamed of being for 5 years. Everything I am learning provides me with more motivation to be the best provider I can be. After graduation, I plan on getting ample experience at a level 1 trauma center so that I can one day work for an organization such as Heart Care International. This organization provides life saving cardiac procedures on children in developing countries. I discovered my passion for nursing while on mission trips, and it would give me such joy to use my anesthesia degree to serve others.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    I am currently a student registered nurse anesthetist at the University of South Carolina. Going into this program, I was aware of the grueling hours, dedication and drive that would be required to make it through. Additionally, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are particularly prone to burnout and depression due to the chronic stress factors related to their job and work environment. So, it is with the upmost importance that I continue to take care of myself and practice self care. I learned about self care initially when I was in nursing school. I found that weight lifting and running were the only things that truly made me feel better. Interestingly enough, according to the article, "Experiences of burnout among nurse anesthetists," exercise is the only statistically significant intervention to reduce the symptoms of burnout and emotional exhaustion (Vells et al., 2021). So it looks like I am on the right track! Currently I am alternating days of running and weight lifting before classes and simulation lab at the school of medicine. I find that no matter how little time I spend doing either of these activities, I leave better than when I came. I think some are under the false impression that working out must be an hour of intense, body riveting work, but in reality, you can do as little or as much as you want. Something is absolutely better than nothing, and I am going to strive to keep this mindset for the duration of this program and my life. Resources: Vells, B., Midya, V., & Prasad, A. (2021). Experiences of burnout among nurse anesthetists. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 26(2). https://doi.org/10.3912/ojin.vol26no02ppt41
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    As an intensive care registered nurse, I am no stranger to difficult situations and life altering trials. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I experienced death at a traumatic rate. As a nurse in the ICU, death is expected, yet the magnitude that it was experienced during the first several months of the pandemic was something I was completely unprepared for. In October of 2020, I decided to challenge myself further and start travel nursing to help areas who were in dire need. Once again, I was completely unprepared for the overwhelming rates of death I would witness. On my final night of my contract, I had two very young COVID positive patients who both ended up passing unexpectedly. After this instance, I felt as if I had no strength left to give. I mourned for those families and for my own experience losing both patients in one night. It took me a long time to acknowledge the positives in that situation. For months leading up to that night, I was essentially an emotionless robot due to the severity and high acuity of the patients I was caring for. It was a coping mechanism to keep my head above the water, but that night woke me up. I held my patient's wife's hand while we prayed over his body. I cried with her as she finally accepted his death. I grew as a person and learned empathy I did know I possessed. In the moment, these situations may seem staggering but with the right mindset, you can learn from them. The memory of this night is a constant reminder that no matter how deep the valley might seem, the other side will be so much brighter because of it.
    Bold Patience Matters Scholarship
    Patience is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I say that with a touch of humor because as a child, I was potentially the least patient person I knew. My lack of patience tended to be centered around myself. I have always been ambitious and yearned at a young age to be challenged. Of course as we all know, challenges are often accompanied with frustration and failures. I had a tendency to be very hard on myself, and had little to no patience with my short comings. My frustrations stemmed from small things such as having trouble answering a math equation to not being able to land my standing tuck at cheerleading practice. I finally came to the realization that I needed to work on myself when one day at the gym, I was attempting to land my standing tuck. I tried over and over again with no success. I resorted to breaking down and crying because I was so disappointed in myself. My mother, who was watching from the window, confronted me afterwards and told me how disappointed she was in me regarding my behavior. At first I was astonished and partially wounded by her words. But as time passed, I realized how my outlook on the situation drastically impacted my emotions and progress. I finally understood how my lack of patience with myself led to failure rather than success. How was I going to expect others to be in my corner when I was not even rooting for myself? The memory of that day is a constant reminder to give myself grace and to acknowledge when I am trying my best. In the end, that is all we can ask of ourselves.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    I lost my grandfather May of 2020 and it was a period of my life that I will never forget. My grandfather was a man of hard work, dedication, honor and respect. He started his own construction business when he was in his twenties and due to his tireless efforts, the company flourished. He embodied an old-fashioned, hard-working man considering he retired at the age of 75. While most people would not dream of working past 65, retiring was one of the hardest decisions because his company gave him such accomplishment and joy. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 but I was not aware of his condition until 2017. He decided to keep his diagnosis from me because he did not want to blemish any memories we would make together. By the time I was aware, the severity of his condition had worsened. He had begun to show the detrimental effects of metastasis and was not his usual self. Over the next couple of years, I watched my grandfather deteriorate. He lost weight, had changes in his posture and overall appearance. Despite these changes, he remained light-hearted and dedicated to his family. He made sure to put on a brave face when I was around so that I did not see how much pain he was in. Even when discussing his own death, he described it as a joyous occasion because he would be with Jesus soon. His outlook on his terminal illness changed my perspective on life. It is so important to focus on the positive aspects of life because we never know when our last day will be. In his final days, I was unable to see him due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, I was an ICU nurse and was exposed to COVID positive patients every day. Due to the policies of the hospice center, I was unable to visit to say goodbye. Regardless of the poor circumstances surrounding his death, I will always remember him for the man that he was. I consider myself to be a hard working and determined young woman. Due to the determination I learned from my grandfather, I was accepted into the nurse anesthesia program at USC in January 2021. I am the youngest student of the first doctoral cohort. My grandfather taught me what it means to chase your dreams and how to work hard to attain them. Life is fleeting, so we must take it into our own hands. I plan on taking the lessons I’ve learned from him and using them to fuel my studies over the next three years. This anesthesia program will one of the hardest things I will endure, but I know I can do it because of my grandfather.
    Pay It Forward CRNA Scholarship
    My name is Rebecca Dunn, and I am a twenty-three-year-old from Atlanta Georgia. I come from a family who values personal integrity, honesty and compassion above all else. I grew up in a small church in Sandy Springs, and every summer I looked forward to mission trips to various communities around the United States. The insurmountable joy that I received from giving back to those less fortunate led me to discover my passion for nursing. I yearned to be the one thing that made patients smile in what could be the most difficult time of their lives. My knowledge of nurse anesthesia was limited until one clinical day where I was sent to the OR for a coronary artery bypass graft. I was placed at the head of the bed with the nurse anesthetist and given a stool. Picture a little nursing student in white scrubs standing on her tippy toes to just barely be able to peer over the plastic screen. All the while the CRNA was explaining to me what he was doing to keep the patient stable, I was fascinated. Then, as the surgeon was prepared to start the cardiopulmonary bypass machine, I was able to watch the heart stop in his hands. It was the most surreal experience of my life and I began to cry. Everything in nursing school seemed extraordinary, but this was something different. I felt honored to be a part of such a delicate procedure. I was able to witness the human heart stop and a machine on the other side of the room continue to circulate the patient’s blood throughout his body. What blew me away the most was the nurse anesthetist who was working what seemed like behind the scenes to keep the patient hemodynamically stable. From that moment onward I set a goal to become a CRNA. For me a nurse anesthetist is the unsung hero of the OR; not only keeping patients hemodynamically stable during a procedure but meticulously monitoring in order to avoid adverse outcomes. My goal once I have graduated would be to invest significant time into an organization such as Heart Care International. Heart Care International is an organization that provides life saving surgical intervention to children with congenital heart disease in developing countries. I found my calling when I was thirteen through mission work, so it would come full circle if I was able to use my advanced degree to provide care to those who need it most. I am aware that I will most likely need several years of experience before becoming an anesthesia provider for Heart Care International. I plan on working at a level 1 trauma center in order to gain the appropriate experience to tackle acute situations. I hope to accomplish this goal within 5 years of graduating. Serving others is what gives my life meaning and I hope to continue to do so throughout my career. Thank you for taking the time to consider me for your scholarship.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    I, and many others who are in the medical field, have had what I consider to be the boldest moment of all time. I am an ICU nurse who has had the privilege of taking care of hundreds of COVID-19 patients. Surviving last year as a COVID ICU nurse was the most challenging experience, and I was able to make lasting impacts on so many patient lives. I held patients' hands, watched them gasp for air, face-timed their families and advocated for them. I had to be strong every day in order to save my patients' lives.
    Dashanna K. McNeil Memorial Scholarship
    Winner
    My name is Rebecca Dunn, and I am a twenty-three-year-old from Atlanta Georgia who is currently pursuing a doctorate in nurse anesthesia at the University of South Carolina.  I come from a family who values personal integrity, honesty and compassion above all else. I grew up in a small church in Sandy Springs, and every summer I looked forward to mission trips to various communities around the United States. The insurmountable joy that I received from giving back to those less fortunate led me to discover my passion for nursing. I yearned to be the one thing that made patients smile in what could be the most difficult time of their lives.   My knowledge of nurse anesthesia was limited until one clinical day in nursing school where I was sent to the OR for a triple coronary artery bypass graft.  I was placed at the head of the bed with the nurse anesthetist and given a stool.  Picture a little nursing student in white scrubs standing on her tippy toes to just barely be able to peer over the plastic screen.  All the while the CRNA was explaining to me what he was doing to keep the patient stable, I was fascinated.  Then, as the surgeon was prepared to start the cardiopulmonary bypass machine, I was able to watch the heart stop in his hands.  It was the most surreal experience of my life and I began to cry.  Everything in nursing school seemed extraordinary, but this was something different.  I felt honored to be a part of such intelligence and expertise.  I was able to witness the human heart stop and a machine on the other side of the room continue to circulate the patient’s blood throughout his body.  What blew me away the most was the nurse anesthetist who was working what seemed like behind the scenes to keep the patient hemodynamically stable.  From that moment onward I set a goal to become a CRNA. For me a nurse anesthetist is the unsung hero of the OR; not only keeping patients hemodynamically stable during a procedure but meticulously monitoring in order to avoid adverse outcomes. I would like to accomplish many things with my advanced degree in nurse anesthesia. Short term goals post graduation are to accept a job offer at a level one trauma center where I can become a well rounded and experienced CRNA. A long term goal, and potentially the most important goal to me, is to join an organization such as Heart Care International. This organization provides live saving cardiac surgeries to children in developing countries. Mission work is where I discovered my love for serving others, and it would give me joy to be able to give back while practicing my dream job.