RN-BSN Graduate Almost 20 Years Later

Now a mother of three, Manager of Registry at West Penn Hospital, and survivor of breast cancer; this Clarion alumni has seen it all.

You may be asking who is this incredible woman? It is my mother, Dina Marie Boyd. She graduated in 1999 with her RN-BSN degree. Since then, just to name a few places she has been are, St. Francis Hospital which was located in Pittsburgh (which is now closed and the new Children's Hospital), and there she worked as a nurse in the Emergency Department. When St. Francis closed she then moved to West Penn, her second home, since then. When she first went there she was a nurse on the pediatric floor. As years went on she became the manager of the floor. After she worked as the manager for a few years here, she then went on to be the manager of registry. She is the boss of many different nurses on many different floors. There are continuous changes in the healthcare field and she has adapted to them well. She has managed all the stress that comes with these jobs and the impact it has had on her life is described as “incredible.” When asked if she could be anything other than a nurse, she denies and says “this is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Since almost 20 years has passed since she has attended Clarion, of course things have changed. Not only did her job change multiple times but her health did as well. One day in January of 2016, this Clarion alumni had her courage tested. On this day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was not part of the plan. She was scared, even though she did not want her three children or anyone else to see it. Although you could tell it was hard at times, she never let this disease win. She had her surgery to remove it and then went through 20 radiation treatments. To prove how strong she was during this time, she would leave work to go get the treatments, and then go right back to work. Not only was she dedicated to her co-workers but she was also dedicated to herself and killing this disease. It was a long year and a bad one. Unfortunately she had many other health problems this past year as well. She made it through all of these, too. At no point though did she ever let them stop her. January 26th , 2017 she went back to have her year follow up mammogram. That day I got a text that read “Mammogram looks good” and I have never been happier seeing that. She beat cancer. Cancer did not win. Cancer did not take my loved one.


As tribute to my mother, I am on my way to be a nurse as well. Since I was two years old, I always wanted to be just like my mom. Wearing those clothes that looked like pajamas all day was something I always found interesting. As I began my journey through school, it was my mom I called to ask for help. When I needed to know a question for a test, I called my mom to ask it. When all my friends are sick, I call my mom to ask what is wrong with them. When my friends are hospital bound due to actions taken earlier in the night, I call my mom so I know what questions to ask. The advice she has for not only me, but future nurses are:


Listen to your superiors, they know much more than you.


Know when to speak up.


Ask for help.


You will make mistakes.


Don’t skip steps that are there for protection.


I promise to follow these as I hope all of you future nurses do as well. Thanks for teaching me my whole life to be “courageous and confident.” Little did I know you were teaching me what you had been taught when you went to Clarion. Continue to fly mom, and I promise to fly, too.