Outside the Gate

In 2010 Samantha Olson ’15 was in Giza visiting the pyramids. As she rode through the city in an air-conditioned tour bus, she noticed a canal running alongside of her. Samantha’s eyes were drawn to a group of young children stripped from their clothes and playing in the filthy canal water for refuge from the intense heat. It was her first time witnessing true poverty and suffering.

It was also the moment Samantha knew she wanted to work in medicine. 

“When we were in Giza our tour bus approached a golden-gated palace and we were ushered through like royalty,” said Samantha. “There was a brutal contrast between the inside of the gate and the outside. I made a decision to do something for those who live outside the gate.”

Samantha has been a travel nurse for a year, working in Guam, Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Her favorite part about being a travel nurse is working with multicultural patients, gaining new perspectives on illnesses, and learning new approaches to treatments.

“It’s magical to hear five or more languages floating through the air,” said the Corning, N.Y. native. “I also love the adaptability I need to have in this environment, and the daily hurdles I have to overcome.”

A few of those hurdles include a lack of resources and advocating for patients. In spite of these issues, Samantha believes it's a privilege to be integrated into the best and worst moments behind the foreign hospital walls.

“I’ve bore witness to some of the most amazing human preservation and kindness I’ve ever known,’ said Samantha. “Every part about this job is rewarding – from the words said to the tears cried. I get to deliver words of comfort and have the ability to help someone with life-saving medicine.”

Samantha took advantage of the SUNY Corning Community College ACE (Accelerated College Education) Program when she was a senior in high school. She credits the SUNY CCC nursing program for providing the foundation she needed to be successful at Roberts Wesleyan College.

“I am especially thankful for the wonderful clinical and simulation laboratory instructors that taught me all of the different facets of nursing,” said Samantha. “I learned to carefully and attentively care for people’s lives.”

Samantha is looking to pursue a graduate school program in Humanitarianism and Conflict Resolution in Manchester, England within the next few years.

“I really want to expand my knowledge in humanitarianism,” said Samantha. “In the meantime, I’m looking to pursue another international nursing placement. I really feel like I’ve found my niche and this work has given me the most meaning and belonging I’ve ever felt.”