Jessica Mahinda, a master’s entry-level professional nursing (MEPN) student, was recognized with a 2013 Presidential Outstanding Student Award at CSU Dominguez Hills for her 4.01 GPA and her focus on clinical nurse leadership.
Driven by her desire to understand and improve the national healthcare system, Mahinda, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, performs community service at the UCLA Medical Center, American Red Cross, and RN Lobby Days held in Sacramento. On campus she mentors pre-health and biology students and volunteers for disaster preparedness exercises.
“It’s not something I did to get recognized, but I feel really honored,” she said of her efforts. “This makes me feels like what I’m doing is something to be believed in.”
As a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) already working at a post-operative orthopedic rehabilitation facility in Santa Monica, Mahinda credits her high rate of academic success to the passion she has for nursing.
“It’s easy to do when it’s all so interlaced. I love nursing. I love the scope of nursing. I care about my patients, therefore, I care about the patients’ safety and quality improvement,” she said.
Mahinda also takes a leadership role on campus, having started a chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an interdisciplinary group with 26 students from occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, and undergraduate students studying psychology, social work, and pre-medicine. The group has started a mentoring program between master’s and undergraduate students and they have plans to attend a national conference in the fall.
“One of the key staples for choosing this school among others—that I’ve heard from my colleagues as well—is the involvement of the faculty. The faculty are so supportive. They are engaged, they care and they are easily accessible,” Mahinda said. “For example, Dr. Elizabeth Wider (lecturer and assistant director of the MEPN program) was with me every step of the way. I shared with her this idea [to start IHI] and she helped propel me into making it a reality.”
Photos for this story are courtesy of Brown and Gayden Productions.