A former Girl Scout from Lycoming County went from teaching first aid for her Gold Award project to educating future nursing professionals at Bloomsburg University.
By Catherine Amoriello
The journey to becoming a nurse is not an easy one – it requires years of schooling, having to pass many difficult exams, and learning how to care for human life. But it is arguably one of the best careers for those with a passion for helping others, and that is exactly why Jessica Bower, assistant professor of nursing at Bloomsburg University, was up for the challenge.
Bower has been a member of the Bloomsburg University nursing faculty for three years and brings 25 years of nursing experience to the program. Her desire to help others led her to a nursing career, and a love of teaching is what brought her to Columbia County to share her knowledge with the next generation of medical professionals.
Bower is a former Girl Scout, and her scouting experience had a significant impact on her career choice. She began as a Brownie and continued her Girl Scout journey into high school where she ultimately earned her Gold Award. For her project, she created a first aid lesson and used it to teach children how to provide first aid for others.
“I’ve always been a helper, part of that is rooted in me from Girl Scouts,” Bower said. “I think I’ve just taken that Gold Award and magnified it a little bit. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and working with others and sharing my knowledge. I like seeing the ‘aha’ moment in students.”
Bower believes Girl Scouting is a great experience for girls to have, and the process creates well-rounded individuals. She cites prioritization and being organized as skills she developed throughout her career that also have roots in her Girl Scout days.
“I remember back to when I was doing my Gold Award – you can’t just come on your last year and decide you want to do it. You have to make a plan and work toward it,” Bower said.
According to Bower, the world is in need of more nurses, and the opportunities for a nursing career are available. For girls interested in going into nursing, she cautions it takes a very long time to become confident in your abilities and skills. She also advises seeking out job shadow experiences first to decide if you’re up for the challenge of becoming a health care worker. But Bower believes with the right work ethic, anything is possible.
“Anybody can do anything they put their mind to with some hard work. Nursing school is very hard, but in the end it is worth it. You’ll be so thankful you endured through the difficult work for one of the best professions out there.”
For girls looking to follow in Bower’s footsteps and sharpen their first aid skills, check out the following first aid/health badge opportunities: