BY: RACHEL MATHEW

Alumnus Christy Sebastian graduated from Cypress Bay in 2007 and went on to get her bachelor’s degree at New York Institute of Technology and nursing degree at Chamberlain University. Sebastian said she loved studying at Chamberlain University to pursue her passion for helping other people. 

“Chamberlain was a great school to get my nursing degree at,” Sebastian said. “The professors taught so thoroughly while making sure the students were able to get enough hands-on time in their clinicals.”

Sebastian said while she was in nursing school, she spent her spare time at Cleveland Clinic and the assisted living facilities her uncle owned. She said she did this to help apply what she was learning from Chamberlain University to help get a feel for the nursing profession and to also help people in any way she could in the meantime.

“I was a receptionist at Cleveland Clinic which means I redirected calls and assisted the families of patients, which was a fulfilling experience,” Sebastian said. “While I volunteered at the assisted living facilities, I did arts and crafts with the patients, played games with them during activity time and painted their nails; it helped develop more people skills for my nursing profession.”

Sebastian said her two main inspirations to work in the health field and help people were her mother and grandparents. Sebastian’s mom, Shirley Philip, is a nurse and Sebastian said she grew up admiring the work her mother did with all the patients she treated. She also added that her mother helped improve her grandparents health, which further inspired her.

“My mom is a successful nurse with two assisted living facilities and a home health care agency and her patients loved her,” Sebastian said. “While my grandparent’s health was deteriorating, I saw how much of a positive impact the nurses [in her agency] had on their day.”

Sebastian’s mother, Philip, is a single mom who said her main goal as a mom is to teach her children how important it is to have a focused mindset while also being passionate about the work they are doing. She said this has been a vital message for her daughter’s work.

“I make sure my children truly love and are driven about the work they are pursuing,” Philip said. “I’m glad those life lessons and values got through to Christy.”

Philip works in the health field as a nurse and said she is elated to see her daughter engaging in a profession that has such a positive effect on individuals. She said she has no doubt her daughter will perform well in this field.

“I’m extremely proud of everything Christy has accomplished and I cannot wait to see what else she will do in the future,” Philip said.

Sebastian said she loves the work she has done so far because she feels she’s improved the morale of many patients at the assisted living facility. When she saw the positive influence spending time with the elderly brought, she said that is when she knew she wanted to be a nurse.

“The patients are very playful and engaging when we spend a little time with them,” Sebastian said. “Seeing them laugh brings a warm feeling to my heart like no other, and knowing I’m having that effect on them made me want to continue what I’m doing.” 

Sebastian said now she is putting her nursing degree to good use by working as an oncology nurse, which focuses on treating patients with cancer. Sebastian does not feel much has changed from hanging out with patients at the assisted living facility to the work she practices now. She said on the oncology floor she has now been assigned to there are less creative activities she engages in with them, but she still talks to them and tries to get to know her patients on a personal level.

“I try to spend as much time as I can with my patients, listening to them and being their friend while also assisting them with their medical needs,” Sebastian said. “As a nurse, my job is to advocate for my patients when needed while also providing them comfort and care.”

Sebastian said she will continue working on the oncology floor as a nurse helping patients. She said she enjoys her pursuit in becoming a nurse and that she is grateful to be working as a nurse.

“Life has brought many exciting experiences my way,” Sebastian said. “It’s also brought many humbling experiences through my work volunteering in the hospital and the assisted living facilities to my current job as a nurse.”