Student Nurses

Top National Prize Winner - Jessica Gillilan, Student Nurse
(University of Alabama / Good Samaritan Clinic, Tuscaloosa, AL)
"Student Nurse’s Selfless Acts Bring Hope to Desperate Patients"
In addition to her nursing studies, where she maintains a 3.98 GPA, Jessica volunteers several days a week at the Good Samaritan Clinic providing care to rural patients who cannot afford health insurance.

Nominated by: Stella Gillilan (Editor’s Note: Stella is Jessica’s mother.)

Working in the medical field is a dream come true for Jessica Gillilan. Currently she is a senior working toward a nursing degree with her ultimate goal to become a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner. In the summer of 2000, she was selected to attend the Rural Health program at the University of Alabama and she was introduced to the world of volunteer work at the Good Samaritan Clinic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. When she returned home, she talked of how awesome this clinic was and learning of the struggles that many people face because they do not have health insurance. She informed us that she was going to volunteer two days a week when she started her college classes. I thought this was a passing idea and once she saw how much time college required she would not be able to work there. NOT true. She loves the people at the clinic and has been extremely active for the last three years. She goes each Tuesday and Thursday until the last patient is ready to leave. She has a 3.97 GPA and been actively involved in her church, community, and family while still volunteering 12-20 hours a week at the clinic.

I believe she deserves recognition for her dedication to this organization and the patients she has worked with. She takes patient information, does new patient work-ups, assists the doctors who volunteer, and works as a pharmacy tech once patients have been seen and makes sure they get their medicines. Her beautiful smile and enthusiasm for life are traits that help her patients know she cares. Jessica has a motto she has lived by for several years: JOY – Jesus, others and then yourself. She talks freely of her love for Jesus and how she knows he has placed her in the clinic and allowed her to help the sick.

"Her willingness to go that extra mile to help others is something I am extremely proud of..."
She loves helping those less fortunate and has used the knowledge she has gained as a Capstone College of Nursing student to be of service to the staff and patients at the Good Samaritan Clinic. In the last three years, she has gone to the clinic when I know she was sick herself but she would stress that they depended on her to be there, that she cared for her patients. This last year has been extremely difficult, as her 18-year-old cousin died in September of ‘03 with a rare muscular cancer. Yet she returned to the clinic as quickly as possible following the death. Then, in January her father was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and we needed her also, but she still remained active at the clinic because she knew what they do is vital to many families.
Her willingness to go that extra mile to help others is something I am extremely proud of and perhaps you will think so too by recognizing her devotion to this clinic and the work it is doing for the residents of Tuscaloosa.