When she is not busy with clinicals and exams, Lauren Zaworski, a nursing student at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing in Maywood, Ill., can be found on the softball field as a member of Loyola University Chicago team.
“Student athletes are rare in nursing, because of the demanding time constraints of clinicals and class work,” Nancy S. Hogan, RN, PhD, FAAN, distinguished professor and associate dean for research at MNSON, said in a news release. “However, Lauren is a model student and a great athlete who has the discipline and drive to balance it all.”
As an outfielder, Zaworski travels extensively with her team. Off the field, Zaworski has been named to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll. She also was nominated for the Academic All District Team, which is an honor given to accomplished student-athletes who have a 3.3 GPA or higher for the school year. The National Fastpitch Coaches Association also named her an All-America Scholar-Athlete in 2011, which requires a 3.5 GPA or higher. She played in 46 of the teams 47 games, 42 as a starter, was third on the team with a .317 batting average and had five home runs and 21 RBIs.
“The nursing program is so challenging and a student athletes time is stretched with training, traveling, playing and community service,” Bill Behrns, assistant athletic director for communications, Loyola University Chicago, said in the release. “Lauren is a remarkable kid who has been able to accomplish success both on and off the playing field. This is a testament to her strong work ethic and organizational and time-management skills.”
Some universities do not allow nursing students to participate in sports. However, Zaworski was drawn to Loyola for the resources that make it possible to do both.
“My coaches are flexible and stress that I am a student first and an athlete second,” Zaworski said in the release. “I am grateful that they have allowed me to play while supporting my passion for nursing.”
On the days that Zaworski has clinicals, she reports to an area hospital at 5 a.m. and works until 3 p.m. She then attends practice or a game until 6 p.m. before completing a few hours of homework.
“High-intensity situations are common in college athletics,” Zaworski said in the release. “Softball has taught me to be calm under pressure, which will serve me well as a nurse.”
Zaworskis nursing skills recently came in handy when a teammate broke her nose and suffered a concussion on the field.
“My teammates turned to me for help, so I ran to get medical equipment to assist the athletic trainer,” Zaworski said in the release. “Helping others and having compassion are among the reasons I chose nursing. These skills have come in handy both on the field and at the bedside.”