There was a time where Molly Pratt, 24, couldn’t walk and was in a wheelchair due to her debilitating cancer.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘How am I going to be a nurse in this condition?’” Pratt said.
But Pratt, of Armada, is proof that nothing is too far out of reach.
On Monday, Jan. 23, her world comes full circle as she starts her first job as a pediatric nurse at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital, the new name for Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, where she was once a patient and received treatment for her Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I am so nervous, scared and excited all in one,” Pratt said. “I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned in nursing school and interacting with the patients and families.”
To top it off, her nursing preceptor, who will serve as a mentor to Molly for her first six weeks on the job, is also one of Pratt’s former nurses, Laurie Johnson.
“When I found out I was being precepted by Laurie, I was really excited because she was one of the nurses that was on my case when I was going through treatment,” Pratt said. “Not only is she very knowledgeable, but I know for a fact that she’s a good nurse because she cared for me. I’m truly excited to be able to learn from her.”
Pratt first learned she had cancer the weekend of her junior year homecoming at Armada High School.
“I had just turned 16, and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” she said. “I remember back then my focus was on my ACT score, what I was going to wear to homecoming, where I was going to go to college. Finding out I had a cancer diagnosis in the middle of all that was not at all what I was expecting.”
Since then, Pratt has relapsed twice, and each time, her cancer has advanced a little more.
But throughout it all, Pratt has remained positive.
Chasing her dream
After graduating high school in 2016, Pratt took a couple classes at a community college, while she continued going through treatments.
Pratt applied for and received the Charles A. Main Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship, named after Dr. Main, former chief of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at Beaumont Children’s. The scholarship is intended to help young adult cancer patients like Pratt and encourage them to look to the future by continuing their education.
Years later, she transferred to Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) for nursing and was able to take on a full load each semester afterward.
Pratt walked across the stage and received her diploma from SVSU in December 2022.
“Walking across that stage has been the biggest accomplishment of my life,” Pratt said. “I’m so proud of that. I never thought I’d be where I am today.”
One of Pratt’s former nurses and inspiration, Karen MacDonald, also took part in the pinning ceremony at SVSU and had the honor of pinning Pratt to mark her transition from nursing student to nurse.
Dream becomes reality
Not only is Pratt happy to start her nursing career, but she’s even more excited to get her start at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital and work alongside some of the nurses who cared for her.
“My dream – my end goal – was always to be a pediatric oncology nurse and it was because of them,” Pratt said. “All of my nurses were always so encouraging and had smiles on their faces. They made treatment bearable. I’d like to do the same for someone.”
Her former nurses are just as excited to witness her growth firsthand and welcome her to the team.
“Being a nurse… it’s definitely a calling,” clinical nurse, Laurie Johnson, who is acting as Molly’s preceptor, said. “It’s not something you just learn. You’re built for it. You have to have that special mentality and passion that Molly has.”
As for Johnson’s best piece of advice for Pratt: “I have always treated my patients like they’re one of my own. If they need a hug, I give them a hug. If they want to be alone, I give them time alone. I would tell her to treat our patients, just like she’d want her own family to be treated.”
Thank you to Corewell Health communications professional Amanda Klingbail for contributing this article to SocialHouseNews.com.