Nursing major is EHS Intern of the Year

February 9, 2011

Senior nursing major Anne Marie Dust has been named the College of Education and Health Science Intern of the Year.

Dust grew up in the Peoria area. She was homeschooled for her first and last years of high school and attended Notre Dame High School in Peoria for her sophomore and junior years. She says she decided to go into nursing when the idea came to her during prayer, and she hasn’t looked back since. After graduation this May, Dust plans to work as a floor nurse at a hospital for at least one year, then pursue a doctorate and become a women’s health nurse practitioner.

Over the summer, Dust worked the night shift at the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria as a nurse extern. She performed the typical duties of a nurse, such as taking vitals and helping patients eat, walk, and bathe, but the CVICU provided its own unique challenges and opportunities. She worked with patients on machines that assisted with or took over the duties of the heart and lungs. She chose to work in the CVICU because, “If you can make it in a CVICU, you can make it anywhere in nursing,” and because the unit contained some of “the sickest people in the hospital.”

A patient in her care had a particularly strong impact on Dust. He felt overwhelmed by his illness and even most of the staff did not think he would ever make it out of the hospital. He required constant care and had a tube in his throat that made him unable to eat or drink. The only things he could take in through his mouth were melting ice chips. Dust always kept a warm, cheerful attitude around him to keep his spirits up. One night, she spent hours feeding him melted ice, piece by piece. Dust said that “by the grace of God,” he recovered from his illness and was able to leave the hospital.

Dust said the greatest part of her experience at the hospital was helping patients and seeing them recover from seemingly hopeless illnesses. “That was the coolest thing for me, seeing someone who went through so much pain and suffering have hope again,” she said.