Born and raised in the Rochester area, Lisa Zarnello comes from a humble beginning. Her father was a brick and stone mason, and her very first job was working with on various construction sites. Lisa was originally attending art school and struggling with what she wanted to do in life. On top of school, she was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and always felt a calling to the profession. After talking with a colleague, she decided to attend MCC and work towards an associate’s in Nursing. In 2006, she achieved that goal and spent the next eight years working in the field of Nursing, but she always strived for more. Her mother attended SUNY Brockport and graduated with a Master’s in Education. This led her to coming to Brockport in 2014, joining the Nursing Departments RN-to-BSN program.
What made you want to pursue your major? Was there a defining moment? A person you emulated?
“It took me a long time to find the nursing profession. Nursing is often misrepresented in society and in the media, as subservient role, once I too, had the same misguided idea of nursing. I worked with a nurse who was close to retirement, who was a phenomenally gifted, intelligent, out spoken, strong and fearless woman. She advocated for the nursing profession, highlighting nursing’s true role in the medical field. She encouraged me to pursue nursing by telling me I was born to be a nurse. With her advocating and educating me about the profession’s role in science, research, social reform, and health reform, it sparked a desire to be a part of this amazing profession.”
How did SUNY Brockport influence you to take the path you’re on now?
“Prior to enrolling into the RN-to-BSN program, I was starting feel the pangs of burnout. Being a part of the program, and learning more about the role of advanced nursing practice, nursing leadership and the role of nursing in community health and social justice, re-ignited my passion for the nursing profession. The program helped to develop the holistic, evidence based approach to practice and professional direction. After finishing Brockport, I enrolled in Saint John Fishers Family Nurse Practitioner program, and will be graduating with my FNP in August, 2018. Brockport’s RN-to-BSN program provided a solid foundation of educational discipline, nursing research, leadership, and epidemiological concepts, which prepared me to continue on for an Advanced Practice degree in nursing.”
What was the main highlight of the RN-BSN program at Brockport?
“The main highlight of my experience was seeing how continuing one’s education in a profession can open doors and experiences which integrate education, practice, and systems to truly impact patient care; both at the bedside and throughout the community. It allowed me to see that nursing does make a difference in the world, from both an individual and global perspective.”
What kind of special experiences have you had at Brockport?
“During my Epidemiology class, we learned a great deal about global health initiatives, and the people and programs that are working to improve health practices throughout the world. Learning about on the ground experiences in third world nations, I thought to myself, ‘I want to be there, doing that.’ This past summer, I had the opportunity to work with a global health NGO, and traveled to rural villages in the Volta River region of Ghana in West Africa, providing medical and nursing care in a mobile clinic setting. We encountered a great deal of tropical diseases, screened for and treated Malaria, provided Ready-to Use- Therapeutic nutrition for children and families suffering from malnutrition, and treated a variety of other medical needs. Without the seed being planted in that class, and continued encouragement from Dr. Heavey, I never would have extended myself out of my comfort zone to follow through on this life changing opportunity.”
What are your future goals?
“I would like to finish my FNP program and provide medical care to underserved populations in the local community. I hope to be able to serve my community from both a local and global perspective. When I am done with school, I would like to become a foster parent, and provide a stable, loving home environment to kids in need.”