Inspired By the Care of Mason Nurses


Family members’ time in hospitals with caring nurses inspired Sarah Ringham to start and continue her nursing education 

Sarah Ringham, BSN senior

Caring nurses inspired Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) senior Sarah Ringham at a young age. She saw the impact that warm and compassionate nurses had on her family and knew it was the profession for her. 

Ringham aims to be a pediatric oncology nurse so she can support children and families. When she was in elementary school, nurses cared for her sister, who has now been in remission from brain cancer for 13 years. She knows what a difference a great nurse can make and intends to provide the best care. 

“I got into nursing by caring for my sister, and not only because of her, but because of the wonderful nurses who cared for her. They were so nice and amazing, and I enjoyed watching them work,” said Ringham. “I want to make it easier for other families in the hospital who are going through the same thing my family went through.”  

Her sisters nurses are also a big reason she chose to attend Mason. Ringham says most of the nurses she talked to went to Mason and recommended the program.  

Unfortunately, her sister is not the only family member to inspire her future career. During the fall of her senior year (Fall 2021), her stepfather passed away from a breakthrough case of COVID-19 (he caught the virus even though he was vaccinated). This, along with the shift to remote and hybrid learning because of the pandemic, changed her world and she considered leaving the program. She even mentioned the possibility to her professors, who wanted her to stay, but supported her in what was best for her.  

“I was this close to dropping out of the nursing program because my family needed me. I was still doing classes and most of my schoolwork, but I was so afraid if I didn’t drop out that it would negatively affect my family,” she said. “My mom told me to stay in school. She said, ‘your dad would be so upset if you left. You’re so close to graduating.’” So Ringham stayed in school and is glad for it.  

A New Spark 

Ringham VR Lab

The loss of her stepfather greatly impacted how she viewed life, especially nursing, and gave her a new motivation for her education. 

“I came back with a new mindset that I absolutely had to finish. The new mindset included a new flame to do everything to the best of my ability,” she said.  

In addition to participating in the Student Nurses Association and Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society (academic honor society founded to recognize high-achieving students with disabilities), Ringham spends her time in the Virtual Reality (VR) and Simulation Lab, where her voice is famous. As a Simulation Lab Assistant, she moderates VR and mannequin-based simulations, talking and reacting as the patient, with other students. After a student goes through a scenario, the debrief process includes watching a recording of another person who has completed the scenario, which allows students to see how to improve their practice. The scenario is a recording of Sarah completing the training.  

“Hi, My name is Sarah, and I’m going to be your nurse” is her most used line in the scenarios and she has had other students recognize her because of her voice. She has found that she enjoys the teaching and supporting aspects of working in the lab.  

“I want to make it easier for other families in the hospital who are going through the same thing my family went through.”  

Ringham is glad she committed to her last semester and is excited to graduate in May. She thinks her new attitude is the reason the Nursing faculty awarded her with the Rita M. Carty Academic Achievement Award.  

Just like the nurses she encountered, Ringham recommends Mason’s School of Nursing to anyone interested.  

“Honestly, do it and give it your all. If you like nursing and medicine, this is the school for you. The faculty are so into student education and finding ways to improve,” said Ringham. “If you want to do nursing, go for it. It’s an amazing field and there’s a lot of great resources at Mason.”