Keeping with the URI slogan “Think Big”, we give you Ms. Kai Younger. Kai is a senior but technically a junior in the College of Nursing at URI because of course requirements. It has taken her a while to get here but it has been a dream for her entire life. Kai is a little older than many of the nursing students at age 42 and she sees herself as kind of “big sister” to her younger classmates. “Age is not really very important.” According to Kai. “There is a huge mix of ages in the College of Nursing.” What is really important to Kai is that this is her opportunity for advancement in the medical field where she has worked for over twenty years as a technician. She is “very grateful and happy” she has been given this opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
As her career advances, Kai sees herself becoming a leader in the nursing field. In her previous work history she has dealt with many patients and critical situations and is “calm under pressure”. She currently works part time for the Veterans Administration in Providence as a dialysis technician. In fact, it was her work there that earned her a scholarship from the VA to attend URI. Kai say, “College is my full time job now, but I work for the VA on vacations and during the summer.” She will also owe three years of service to the VA when she graduates. “It is great” she said, “I have an automatic job when I graduate and the opportunity to float and become well versed in many areas of nursing at the VA.” Ultimately she sees herself working in the field of Pediatric Oncology where she can use everything she has learned helping children with cancer.
What is very different about Kai from most students, is that she has been fighting Chronic Pancreatitis for most of her working life. Like most people with the disease, she has good days and bad days. Fortunately the good days outnumber the bad. What is also immediately apparent in interviewing Kai is her desire to succeed and her attitude. Kai has a great smile and a bubbling personality. Ever optimistic, she hopes to get selected for a new procedure that has been developed at Boston General to treat the disease. In the meantime she also has a bucket list and has recently checked off a few items on it like attending a Janet Jackson Concert and buying a new car (Murano Convertible). A trip to Key West is next on the list.
Kai reverse commutes from Pawtucket each day. She lives with 2 rescue ferrets and 2 new Bichon Frise puppies that she affectionately calls “her dream dogs”. In addition to her “children”, her other interests are very diverse: sewing, drawing, painting, crochet and playing the clarinet. (She was first string in High School.) Kai has three brothers and two sisters in a close knit Dorchester, Mass. family. Three members of the family are policemen: her mother, a brother and a sister. Public service obviously runs in the family. At URI Kai serves on the Diversity Committee. She is also Vice President of the Multi-Cultural Student Nurse Association and working to have MCSNA accepted as an official organization in the College of Nursing at URI.
Kai loves working with other students and helping them deal with stressful situations where her previous work experience comes in handy. It is a little easier drawing blood or putting in a line when you have been doing it for many years. As mentioned earlier, Kai feels that she is good in an emergency, having dealt with ten separate code situations in the past. Her calm demeanor serves as an example for other students. She also realizes however, that she still has a lot to learn and works hard to develop her nursing skills in caring for patients.
Kai is fascinated with the brain and psychiatry. Perhaps more than most students, she realizes how much an optimistic attitude contributes to a patient getting better. In her desire to work in Pediatric Oncology, she can empathize with her patients and their parents because of her own struggles in dealing with a chronic disease. She is one focused lady who thinks big and is determined to make the best of this opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.