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Keeping busy by improving the lives of others at Emory and beyond

While studying at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Tasya Washington demonstrated her passion for service through her involvement with several campus organizations and during a service-learning experience in Eleuthera, Bahamas.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants,” Henry David Thoreau once said. “The question is: What are we busy about?”

Throughout her Emory career, Tasya Washington has been busy. And what has kept her busy is her efforts to better the lives of others.

A graduating senior of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Washington has been involved in numerous service-oriented organizations: the Emory Black Mental Health Ambassadors, Emory Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and the Emory chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She has led these organizations in various capacities: co-social chair, co-programming and research chair and a leadership board member.

“I’ve always been interested in mental health and neuroscience, and as a Black woman, I wanted to be involved in organizations that give back to my community,” Washington says. “So, I found organizations that aligned with my passions and allowed me to practice ways of helping others.”

The Columbia, South Carolina, native was drawn to Emory because of its focus on health sciences, and it was during her second year she saw nursing as her career path.

“I had friends who described how people-facing it was and how you could make an immediate difference at the bedside, and I was convinced,” she says. “I love it.”

Washington also demonstrated her passion for service during a service-learning experience in Eleuthera, Bahamas, where she and fellow students worked with local health clinics on disease prevention. During the week, they created infographics about hypertension and diet in English and Haitian Creole that were disseminated via WhatsApp to clinic patients.

Washington realized how urgent the need for this work was when she met a man with a blood pressure of 170 who thought salt was a remedy — not a cause — for hypertension.

“I realized how important it was to see where people are in their understanding of health and how culture ties into it so you can effectively reach them,” she says.

Washington says her favorite part of nursing school has been the people — cohort members and practicing nurses or mentors who are focused on meeting people where they are and offering quality care to them.

“These people, honestly, give me hope,” she says. “They are passionate about doing their best and giving their best to people who don’t always feel seen.”

Washington will be joining the ranks of these nurses shortly after graduation. She has accepted a position as a nurse resident registered nurse at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, working on the breast/gynecology oncology floor.

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