Chiana Román is a second-year student in the Marquette University College of Nursing who lives out the university's values of excellence, faith, leadership and service each day through her commitment to equal access to healthcare, education and basic human needs. As a Burke Scholar, Chiana has committed herself to more than 300 hours of community service each year. She pursues innovative and thoughtful ways to create change in Milwaukee, advocating tirelessly on behalf of the city's underserved and encouraging her peers to serve alongside her. She has supported Marquette partners with the greater Milwaukee community through her work at the Center for Peacemaking, Catholic Relief Services and Penfield Children's Center. Chiana recently was part of an International Marquette Action Program to South Africa and accepted the position of orientation leader through the Office of Student Development. For the latter, she plans on integrating her service and knowledge of the city into the orientation program for the university's incoming first-year students.
I started serving my community weekly when I was 13 by playing bingo at a nursing home, cooking and sorting clothes at a homeless shelter and caring for children at a childcare center. At 16, I added Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to my weekly volunteer outreaches. At the time, I could not have imaged what an amazing impact it would have on my life.
I have had the privilege of rocking newborns, comforting toddlers, and playing water bottle bowling with seven year olds. Sometimes during these joyful times, it's easy to forget the constraining social injustices that lead these kids to Children's. Their illnesses extend much farther than the hospital. To many, asthma attacks and sickle cell crises are preventable problems, but for my patients this is not the case. Unstable home environments and inadequate health care contribute negatively to their overall health.
As I continue my nursing education, I am reminded my patients' care must extend beyond the hospital. As a future nurse, I hope to work with the community to treat illnesses. To prevent health problems, I must work to prevent food deserts while promoting preventative care and access to affordable care.