Zoe Bosenberg (Photo by Peter Julian)

Hometown: Guilford, Conn.
Major: Nursing
Notable Activities/Achievements: Faculty assistant, Connell School of Nursing; Sharps (all-female a cappella group); BC Women's Rugby Club; studied abroad at Pablo de Olavide University, Spain; clinical rotations at local hospitals including Massachusetts General, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham and Women's, Boston Children's and the Veterans Administration hospitals, among others.
Post-Graduation Plans: Apply to work as a nurse in the Boston area—she will take her National Council Licensure Examination in July.

Described as the "heart and soul" of the Connell School senior class, Bosenberg in her role as a faculty assistant has given tours, worked as an actor in the Simulation Laboratory, and helped faculty with a variety of tasks. She credits her extra-curricular activities, the rugby club and Sharps, with helping her get through the rigors of the nursing program. But it is her recent experience as a patient that will likely make her a more compassionate and empathic nurse.

What has been your most formative BC experience while at BC?
The summer going into senior year I found out I had a brain tumor. I got it removed August 4 and moved back to school three weeks year. I had never been a patient before. I experienced a lot of negatives. I was talked down to by clinicians. But I also experienced a lot of positive things.

We talk a lot about empathy and we think we know what that means. But empathy and compassion are so important. Everyone kept telling me I had anxiety or that my headaches were from the lights at my work setting. I saw my third doctor who ordered an MRI "to ease your anxiety," he said. Those words will always stick with me. Couple of days later, I got a phone call saying they found a brain tumor, a small mass in my head. That time period between when I had the MRI and I saw the neurosurgeon, there's nothing like that. Not knowing if you are going to live. Not knowing what's going to happen to you. When I met with the neurosurgeon, he told me, "I saw your MRI and you're going to be fine."

I've learned so much from the experience. That day I had the MRI, I knew they would find something. I had the intuition. You are really more aware of your body than you think you are. I learned to trust patients' opinions. I will never discount someone's pain, because you have no idea what they're feeling. With the opioid crisis, I understand you have to be aware of people who are searching for drugs. But we deny a lot of people's pain. I believe everyone has those moments that define what they are meant to do. Before this, I was questioning if nursing was my path. This experience really caused me to reflect. I've done a 180.

What made you want to pursue nursing?
My work with Special Olympics is what first drew me to nursing. When I was 12, my soccer coach was also a Special Olympics coach. He introduced us to the kids he was working with, and for the next six years I stuck with him and worked with that population. My public school was very inclusive for kids with special needs. That definitely shaped me a lot.
And this semester, my population health clinical rotation was at the Carter School in the South End. Its population is a lot like our Campus School. It's been really cool working there because it has reminded me why I came to nursing in the first place. It's been my favorite rotation.

Why did you choose BC?
I first saw BC in October of senior year. I came with a friend who wanted to visit. I remember stepping on the campus and thinking this is where I want to be. There was this vibe on campus. Then I did my research and saw the nursing program was one of the top nursing programs.

Who has been a mentor to you?
Through my work in the Sim Lab, I became pretty close with [Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Learning and Simulation Labs Director] Amy Smith. She's very understanding and very compassionate. She loves what she does. The Connell School administration does a great job. They bend over backwards for their students.

How has BC put its stamp on you?
Jesuit values are very important in nursing. Ethics are embedded in our curriculum, in every single class. Nurses are compassionate—that's why they want to serve others—but I feel like there is a lot more compassion involved in our teaching methods.

You joined the Catholic Church while you were a student here at BC. How did that come about?
I wasn't affiliated with any religion before I came to BC. I would go to Mass here with my friends [St. Joseph's Chapel on Upper Campus]. What drew me in first was the music. Hearing the songs and paying attention to the lyrics made me more interested in learning about Catholicism. About five or six of us took the RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults] course with Ellen Modica at Campus Ministry. I was baptized, received Communion, and was confirmed.

What have been some of your favorite activities at BC?
Rugby and Sharps really helped me get through nursing school. It's not easy, especially at Boston College. I need to have my sports and my music. They gave such a balance to my life.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?
Join a club of any kind, and definitely go abroad!

—Kathleen Sullivan | University Communication | May 2018

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