God Bless 1972

Yesterday I received an e-mail informing me that I had officially been awarded a National Health Services Corps Scholarship for the remainder of my graduate schooling. This scholarship sends me through school, all reasonable expenses paid, in return for two years of service. That’s right, military style. Minus the boot camp, uniforms, and scary things. In explanation, allow me to give you a brief history lesson.


Some of you may remember the 1970s. I do not. I think my memories kick in around 1986. But I do have a good appreciation for things from the 70s including macrame belts, paisley shirts, Carole King, James Taylor, and the Emergency Healthcare Personnel Act.

This last item was signed into law in 1972 when healthcare professionals began realizing that they could make a whole lot of money by specializing and joining HMOs and practicing in big cities or generally urban areas. If I were practicing in the 1970s and the HMOs became a thing, I very likely would have followed the trend. So, no hard feelings. In fact, thank you 1972. Because of the way you turned out, the government allotted a certain amount of money to entice hard-studying future doctors, dentists, and nurses to stay in the world of primary care, particularly in rural areas. Since then, Congress has given varying amounts of money to this program based on healthcare shortages or surpluses. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment in the last few years, the program is expanding again. And I have joined the ranks.

Basically, the two years of service will be doing exactly what I have wanted to do since I started nursing school – work with the under-served, rural community. The only catch is that it may or may not be in Hawaii. Apparently, it is quite the hairy process to become an approved site. There are only a handful of them in the state and there is no way of knowing if they will have a vacancy with my name on it in two years time. But I plan to work my tail off to find that vacancy.

But I’m not worried. God turned my attention to nursing five years ago when Mom needed nurses. He made me think I could be one of those nurses one day when I was on Ala Moana beach listening to someone I barely knew discuss her new career. Two years later, I got through all of the prerequisites for this insane program, finished the insane program, and have jumped in with both feet to Nurse Practitioner graduate classes. And right when I start asking God if he really meant to pick me, he throws this scholarship at me and says “what now!”. So even if I end up in the middle of the desert in the middle of the country serving the least of the least, I will still be sure that he meant to pick me.

Hey, he thought of me in 1972.

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8 thoughts on “God Bless 1972

  1. Claire Koenig says:

    I have a hunch that if you end up in the middle of the desert in the middle of the country serving the least of the least, you’ll be excited to discover that this is really what you’ve been striving for all along… 🙂 and you’ll love those people and maybe even come to love that place… and you’ll honor your mother’s memory by providing awesome care to people that need it.

  2. Nicole says:

    That is so amazing Erin! I didn’t know your schooling was still underway since you keep mentioning your big exam so now I get it! and I’m so proud of you! Keep up the good work 🙂 God is so good.

  3. megan says:

    That is awesome! And really, how sweet would it be to share stories of your time poking people with needles in the middle of the desert, you know, once you are back on the islands? I’m just hoping you can find internet where you go in the desert! 🙂

  4. pegoleg says:

    Congratulations on the scholarship! It’s wonderful when someone who is willing to work hard reaps a reward.

    My niece is majoring in nursing now, and her mom just graduated as a nurse after going back to college 20+ years after getting her business degree. I admire all of you for answering your call to serve.

  5. Deitra Shoemaker says:

    Love how God works to make His will known for us. His intentions toward you are deeply good, Erin!

  6. […] I said it before and I’ll say it again. God Bless 1972. I’m on a plane leaving New Orleans heading for a week with best friend Shayla. I won’t […]

  7. […] care students the opportunity to decide if they want to work in rural health. Before I received my National Health Corps scholarship, I never knew so much about government health departments. Now I feel like they are a […]

  8. […] and armed with some nerves. I am preparing to take my Board exam in 6 months and start working as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I am thrilled. But there have been days recently when I listen to the wrong folks, read the wrong […]

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