Student’s compassion and determination set her on a path to dream job

Nursing student Morgan Taylor Hinkle combines passion for helping others and love of working with children in her dream to work in the NICU

MorganMorgan Taylor Hinkle, fifth semester University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing BSN student from Scottsboro, Ala., comes from a family of nurses. From a young age she knew she wanted to help people, yet was torn between a career in nursing or elementary education.

In high school, Hinkle had the opportunity to be a part of Health Occupational Students of America (HOSA), a program designed to enable high-school students to gain hands-on health-care experience. While involved with HOSA, she did clinical rotations at Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro.

“I fell in love with the nursing profession,” Hinkle said. “I loved being a patient advocate and lifting their spirits when they were at their worst.”

It was that experience that led to the decision to follow in her family footsteps and become a nurse.

In 2010, Hinkle attended a UAB Day recruitment event for high-school students and was drawn to the atmosphere of UAB’s metropolitan campus, and its close proximity to nationally ranked hospitals. She instantly knew she wanted to be a part of UAB Nursing.

Though Hinkle couldn’t begin her nursing studies until her junior year, that didn’t stop her from gaining as much experience as possible in the field, even before she applied to the UAB School of Nursing.

Hinkle shadowed professional nurses at UAB Hospital during one of her first classes as a freshman. During the experience she was assigned to adult patients, though in her heart Hinkle desired to work with babies. She was so determined to work in UAB Hospital's Continuing Care Nursery (CCN), the step-down unit for the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU), that she kept volunteering for additional shadow hours until she was placed with infants.

Hinkle says that her passion for helping others and love for children came together at that point and she knew that neonatal nursing was her calling.

“The babies can’t tell you what is wrong, you have to be able to sense what they need. I think my compassion and observation skills make this my niche,” says Hinkle.

She continued to pursue volunteer opportunities that would allow her to gain more experience with infants, volunteering at Children’s of Alabama in their NICU during her sophomore year, before she entered the nursing program.

Hinkle’s drive to reach her goals was rewarded. In fall 2013 she was accepted into the UAB School of Nursing as a Dean’s Scholar. She is also a recipient of the Board of Visitors Endowed Nursing Scholarship, the Brock Family Endowed Nursing Scholarship, and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Nursing Scholarship, as well as three university-based scholarships.

As a Dean’s Scholar, Hinkle is on the honor’s track, which means she is responsible for completing an extra class each semester. Currently she is in her senior practicum, which requires full research immersion. Taylor works with Joy Deupree, PhD, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC, Assistant Professor in the UAB School of Nursing, on her initiative “Get Healthy Talledega County.” Deupree’s research focuses on childhood obesity and diabetes. 

“As an honors student mentor to Taylor I can always count on her to take the lead in organization of the other students as well as follow through to make sure all undertakings are finished in a timely manner and using the highest of standards,” said Deupree. “She is the epitome of what a nursing student should represent. She is always prepared beyond expectation and her professionalism is unsurpassed.”

Also as a UAB School of Nursing scholarship recipient Taylor has to fulfill a certain number of community hours each semester. Taylor began volunteering at School of Nursing ceremonies and functions; she was an ambassador for three Lamp of Learning ceremonies, an AMNP ceremony and Senior Pinning ceremony, and volunteered at numerous Alumni Night functions. In addition, she spoke at the Board of Visitors Scholarship Luncheon in 2014 and was the student speaker at the Lamp of Learning Ceremony in February 2015.

“I think you could say I am hooked on volunteering,” Hinkle laughed. “I used to think of myself as a procrastinator, but now I am always weeks ahead on my assignments so that I can spend my spare time volunteering at school.”

Becoming involved in so many school functions sparked her interest in further leadership opportunities. In the fall, 2013, Hinkle joined Student Nurses’ Association (SNA). In January 2014 she filled the role of fundraising chair, in March 2014 she became vice president, and in August 2014 she was elected president. As president of the SNA Hinkle works to involve all students, not just those on the SNA. She oversees event planning, coordinates with the SNA treasurer, and presides over monthly board meetings.

“Taylor not only excels in the classroom, but has also developed into an exceptional leader.  She has exceeded expectations as President and has worked tirelessly to set, achieve and surpass organizational goals,” said Summer Langston, DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC, AACC, Assistant Professor in the UAB School of Nursing and Faculty Adviser for SNA. “She represents the student body with a great deal of maturity and accountability and fosters an environment of shared governance.  I am honored to be able to work with one of the future leaders in our profession.”

When she graduates in 2015, Hinkle hopes to work in the RNICU at UAB Hospital or Children's of Alabama NICU. She also plans to return to the UAB School of Nursing to pursue her a master’s degree and ultimately become a neonatal nurse practitioner.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Hinkle said. “And, I’m grateful that my experiences at the UAB School of Nursing have set me on the path I need to be a successful nurse leader.”

Last modified on February 10, 2015

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