An accident he suffered at just 13 months old inspired Brian Hamel ’15 to pursue nursing.
“I was severely scalded by hot water on my shoulders and back. For the next 15 years, I was taken care of by the amazing and dedicated staff at The Shriners Burn Hospital in Boston. The compassion, friendliness and care they provided to me over those years made a huge impact on my life and it has left me really wanting to give back to the world in the same way.”
Also from a young age, Hamel said, “I knew I wanted to work in emergency medicine. I just recently applied to an Emergency Department fellowship that would give me my dream job at my dream hospital. I just held my first round of interviewing and was told I would be moving on to round two! Fingers crossed!”
Elected Student Nurses Acting for Progress (SNAP) president in May 2014, Hamel described his duties as “coordinating people, places and events. I worked with all members of my executive board to build biweekly meetings that would keep my members interested and involved through activities that enhanced their current educational experience.”
Adding that he gained a lot from that experience, he explained, “this semester really taught me the small pleasures that can be found in teaching others. Teaching our patients is such a huge part of our curriculum, and from my clinical experiences I knew I enjoyed it, but as I led educational events we had, I found I enjoyed teaching my peers as well.”
While SNAP president, he organized the first flu shot clinic at the College, which he called “my proudest moment.” During the October 2014 Family Weekend, he said, “we collaborated with Health Services to provide students, families and community members with the opportunity to get vaccinated before the start of the winter flu season. We vaccinated more than 30 people,” ages 5 to 75. “I hope they continue to host it every year.”
As the 2013–2014 nursing senator, Hamel created an Adelphi Nursing Student closed group on Facebook. The group, which has grown to 500 students, graduates and faculty, gives students “a place to build a community—and an outlet to ask questions, blow off steam, network, buy and sell books and scrubs and share healthcare-related news and stories,” he said.
Thinking back, he said, “Some of the best moments in my four years were also my worst moments. It was those all-nighters I pulled in the library with friends, all of us studying and working ourselves to exhaustion to be prepared for a test or a deadline. It was those moments when we were all in the same boat and, no matter what, we would get through it and pass, and eventually graduate as nurses.”
Some key words of advice have stuck with him. “Don’t overthink, don’t second-guess, just go with your gut and stick with it. I think I’ve been told this a million times by professors before exams,” he said, “but I believe this message goes way beyond just a test. Our instincts exist for a reason, and I know following it will lead us down the best paths in life.”