Touching the future of the nursing profession through her role leading the ASPIRE Program is a dream come true for Daria Allen Sheafe, MSN, RN.
Serving as the Program Coordinator for the Cleveland Clinic ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program is truly my dream job. I was hired for this position in late 2016, and approximately 6 months later, the first cohort of students filed in. The students and I shared anticipation and excitement as none of us knew how this would play out. The program has been well received as we have just welcomed our fourth cohort.
The program provides participants with career information and critical skill sets to support their journeys through higher education, nursing school and beyond. The students enter the program as high school juniors and ASPIRE mentors those that decide nursing is indeed the career for them, throughout their college experience at Tri-C.
I am so blessed to be a part of supporting their developing maturity personally, emotionally, and professionally. I get the privilege to watch their transition from eager wide-eyed 16 year olds, to responsible young men and women. The change from working in fast food to becoming an empathetic caregiver is amazing. The ASPIRE program also affords me the unique opportunity to directly affect the diversity of the Cleveland Clinic nursing workforce. Many of our students are first generation college students; therefore, we also have the opportunity to be transformational to the community at large.
The program has so many facets that we had not anticipated. It is so much more than an academic program. Students bring so many personal issues with them and responding empathically can be draining. Last year I saw a bracelet that reminded me of my purpose. The inscription on it states, “ASPIRE to inspire,” which has now become my mantra.
I feel all roads led me to this point in my career that allows me to influence the future of nursing. The day in 2021 when our first ASPIRE students graduate from nursing school will be the proudest moment of my professional career.