Giving back

Childhood brush with cancer pushes Maria Donovan toward her nursing degree at Wright State

After she receives her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wright State, Maria Donovan plans to work as a pediatric hematology and oncology nurse.

Doctors and nurses gave 8-year-old Maria Donovan the mental steel to fight and overcome a rare cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

That experience has Donovan, now 21, pursuing a nursing career at Wright State University.

On Sept. 11, 2007, Donovan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She underwent three rounds of chemotherapy at Dayton Children’s Hospital and then went to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for a bone marrow transplant.

“Finding a transplant donor can be very challenging and difficult,” she said. “I was fortunate that my oldest sister was an exact match for my bone marrow.”

Donovan received the transplant on Jan. 14, 2008.

“This difficult battle led me to want to give back to others just as these nurses and doctors gave strength and courage to battle this illness,” she said.

Donovan earned her associate degree in nursing from Rhodes State College in Lima in 2019. While waiting to take her nursing license exams, she externed at Mercy Health St. Rita’s in Lima. After receiving her licenses in February, she continued the externship and is currently working on the hospital’s Cardiac Critical Care Stepdown unit.

“My family and my boyfriend have always been there to support me through my schooling, as I started taking college courses while I was in high school,” she said. “Also, my coworkers were very motivational and telling me to just go right back to school and get done while I am ‘still a baby.’”

Donovan wants to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing and become a pediatric hematology and oncology nurse within the next five years.

Wright State’s R.N.-B.S.N. Completion Program offers working nurses the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degrees online in as few as 15 months. The curriculum advances nurse knowledge by incorporating real-life experiences with evidence-based applications to improve health outcomes.

“I believe having a B.S.N. would help me move one step closer to that goal,” Donovan said. “I also want to potentially get my master’s degree specializing in pediatric hematology/oncology.”

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