Honoring Nancy Hood: Dreams and Determination Lead to an Impactful Nursing Career

DAISY Winners, Job Seeker, Travel Nursing

Nancy Hood, a dedicated nurse known for her unwavering compassion and patient advocacy, has always dreamt of making a difference in the medical field. Born to a father who worked as a tailor and a mother who helped in the family shop, Nancy learned the value of hard work early on. She assisted in the shop and earned extra money by hemming pants, which allowed her small luxuries like a pop, a treat only the rich kids could typically enjoy.

Nancy’s parents emphasized the importance of education, determined to provide their children with opportunities they never had. As the middle child, Nancy faced unique challenges. Her younger brother aspired to become a doctor, a dream supported by her parents, and her elder sister always received new things while Nancy got hand-me-downs. Nancy reflected on how more affluent children received higher honors during her early education.

Despite these hurdles, she persevered, as this fueled her determination to excel further.

Pursuing Education Against the Odds

In high school, Nancy’s hard work paid off when she achieved one of the highest scores on the college admissions exams. Thrilled, she believed she could finally pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. However, her father thought girls should take vocational courses since they would eventually marry and leave home.

Defying his expectations, Nancy enrolled in the nearest State University with a full scholarship. She worked a summer job to afford her books and other expenses, graduating with a BS in Biology as Cum Laude.

Afterward, Nancy began teaching and went abroad to support her brother through medical school. She married and had children during this time, temporarily setting aside her dreams. Years later, her husband, aware of her aspirations, asked if she still wanted to pursue them. Although hesitant, Nancy decided to return to school, balancing her studies with raising her children. She graduated after three years, passed the licensing exams back home, and successfully cleared the NCLEX.

Finding Her Calling in Nursing

Nancy started her nursing career as a Med-Surg/Telemetry nurse in Indiana before moving to California, where she worked in the ICU. It was in this role that she discovered her true calling. Nancy found immense joy in helping people, even though the emotional toll of losing patients often overwhelmed her. During this period, her mother, who had always been a pillar of strength for their family, fell ill. Caring for her deepened Nancy’s understanding of pain and suffering as a nurse and a daughter.

“What made me a better nurse is knowing that my mother is being cared for by other nurses while I am away. I believe in the Golden Rule of ‘doing what you want to be done to you… love one another…’ I took care of all my patients the way I wanted my mother to be cared for.”
This philosophy guided Nancy to improve her skills and continuously learn from experienced colleagues. When it was her turn to mentor new nurses, Nancy emphasized technical skills and the importance of compassion and understanding.

The Journey to Travel Nursing

In May 2021, Nancy joined Medical Solutions under the guidance of Lexo Scott, who made her transition to travel nursing seamless. Her first assignment at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo, NY, was challenging. Starting in a new place with unfamiliar faces was tough, and Nancy often felt isolated. However, her extensive ICU experience in California equipped her to handle the difficulties. She persisted, driven by the need to support her family and a commitment to excellence.

“Nancy embodies the spirit of patient advocacy, approaching each patient with empathy and a genuine commitment to their well-being. Her compassionate care extends beyond the physical aspects, addressing the emotional and psychological needs of patients and their families.” – Lexo Scott

Gradually, Nancy built relationships with regular staff and fellow travelers, earning their respect and friendship. She embraced the opportunities to learn and grow in each new environment, finding joy in the diversity of travel nursing experiences. When she received the Daisy Award, Nancy was grateful and proud. This recognition affirmed that her dedication and hard work had made a meaningful impact.

A Bright Future Ahead

Despite the challenges of nursing, the satisfaction of making a difference keeps Nancy going. Each new assignment brings uncertainties, but her skills and positive attitude remain constant. Nancy strives to be a beacon of light, offering help and kindness even in difficult situations. Nursing is stressful, Nancy says, but hobbies like needlework and colored pencil art help her relax and find balance.

“During critical situations, Nancy’s leadership shines. Her ability to remain composed under pressure, make informed decisions, and confidently lead her team ensures a coordinated and effective response to challenging medical scenarios.” – Lexo Scott

Nancy’s mother’s advice resonates with her: take risks, enjoy life, and find happiness even in dark times. Her mother’s wisdom and encouragement have shaped Nancy’s journey, inspiring her to rise above challenges and continue making a difference in the lives of her patients. Nancy is proud to honor her mother’s legacy through her work, knowing she is always with her in spirit, cheering her on.

Jennifer Melham is a healthcare staffing content specialist based in Southern California, known for engaging and informative articles tailored to healthcare leaders and clinicians. With a passion for celebrating the invaluable work of nurses and other healthcare providers, her writing offers insightful perspectives on workforce trends and practices.