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Pathway to Nursing

Jailyn Mercadel carries lessons from home into her BMT residency at Emory Healthcare

By Kerry Ludlam

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“The School of Nursing pushed us to always think of ways to improve ourselves and our profession, which are the same values promoted at Emory Healthcare.”—Jailyn Mercadel (pictured above)

If she's ever needed some inspiration, Jailyn Mercadel 17N hasn't had to look too far.

"My mom inspires me daily. She always has and will continue to do so," Mercadel says. "She raised me as a single mom and sacrificed many things in her own life so I could have the beautiful one I'm living that's filled with nonstop opportunities."

Those opportunities began to reveal themselves as Mercadel and her mother moved from her birthplace of New Orleans to McDonough, Georgia. As a student at Union Grove High School, Mercadel chose the health care career pathway as part of the Georgia Department of Education's Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education program.

"I took a health care class every year and gained real-world experience," Mercadel explains. "I shadowed in a hospital and in an urgent care setting. I realized nurses are able to genuinely connect with patients and help them make real changes in their lives."

Mercadel completed two years of undergraduate education at Emory College before transitioning to the School of Nursing, where she was awarded the Josephine Malone Scholarship, based on her strong academic record and leadership qualities. Between her junior and senior year, Mercadel took the trip of a lifetime to Italy as part of a study-abroad program aimed at understanding how compassion relates to the medical profession.

She also was part of the Building Nursing's Diverse Leadership at Emory (BUNDLE) program, which focuses on developing the leadership potential of racial and ethnic minorities, men, and first-generation college students, all of whom are under-represented among registered nurses.

"Being part of BUNDLE opened my eyes as to different roles you can have as a nurse," Mercadel says. "We had speakers from the department of health, the CDC, and so many other interesting organizations. I learned where nursing could take me and got the support I needed to realize my dreams and information on resources to help make my dreams happen."

Those dreams began to take shape last July when Mercadel became a nursing resident at Emory University Hospital's bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit. Though oncology was not originally on her radar, a class visit from a nurse manager in the BMT unit changed that. After shadowing on the unit, Mercadel was convinced.

"What really connected me to the floor was other nurses," she says. "They are very engaged and communicative—and they were all about teaching me. I was able to enter Emory Healthcare as an employee who already understood their systems, values, and patient populations. The School of Nursing pushed us to always think of ways to improve ourselves and our profession, which are the same values promoted at Emory Healthcare."




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