Megan Davis always knew she wanted a career in health care but wasn’t sure about the role she would play. Once enrolled in The University of New Mexico College of Nursing, everything seemed right – until tragedy struck – not once but twice in 2020.

Her mother had not been feeling well and received a serious medical diagnosis in July. In September she developed complications and died. Still reeling from her mother’s death, Davis and her boyfriend both were both diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after her mother’s funeral.

“I knew the end result would be me getting to work in a hospital and take care of people the same way the nurses took care of my mom when she was sick. I think all of that kept me going.” – Megan Davis

Though she didn’t require hospitalization, Davis felt as if she had a bad flu for more than a week and lost her sense of smell for months.

“It was really scary, because we had been around relatives and people because of my mom’s death. Then we were quarantining and away from school,” says Davis, who is graduating this semester.

“It was definitely tough trying to stay on top of things. Being sick you don’t want to do schoolwork. Grieving you don’t want to do schoolwork – but I knew I had to keep trying to push through.”

It was being able to lean on the people in her life that gave her the strength to finish the program, Davis says.

“The biggest thing getting me through it all was my support system,” she says. “My boyfriend is a major support to me through everything, and then my dad and my brother – we all just leaned on each other during that time.”

The support didn’t end there.

“My mom was the most outgoing person you would ever meet, and we have a large group of friends who are like family because of that,” Davis says. “At that time, everyone just came together. We couldn’t be together physically, but there was so much emotional support through phone calls and text messages, sending flowers – it all really helped.”

It also helped that she could see the end in sight.

“I’ve always been a big nerd, I like school and I love learning and I am passionate about my future career as a nurse. It is something I’ve wanted for a long time and worked really hard for it so I didn’t want to give up on that even though it was hard to motivate myself at times,” Davis says.

“This is actually my second degree. I majored in biology in Colorado with the idea that I might work in research or maybe go to medical school. But as I was finishing up, I realized I wanted to be more face-to-face,” she says.

Davis’s family had lived in New Mexico until she was eight and had moved back while she was in college so the UNM Nursing program in Rio Rancho was a good fit. So, eight months after finishing one degree, she entered the nursing program at the UNM Rio Rancho campus.

“Everyone will tell you how hard nursing is – and it is hard – but my class at Rio Rancho was small and we all became very close,” she says. “And, my instructors were really great when it was so difficult last fall, even though they were having to make so many other adjustments due to COVID.”

Davis hopes to work in a hospital setting. She has interests in maternal health care, as well as labor and delivery and oncology.

“I knew the end result would be me getting to work in a hospital and take care of people the same way the nurses took care of my mom when she was sick,” she says. “I think all of that kept me going.”