Humans of UCSF: Choosing Adventure

Friday, September 15, 2017

“I love to escape the masses, put on a backpack and explore the mountains, or pick up and move to a new place where I don’t know a soul. It’s thrilling to feel so vulnerable. Being grounded in a community is what gives me the strength to take those risks.

I visited New Orleans in college and was completely struck by the city. People said good morning on the street, stopped to chat instead of rushing, sat outside and played music, shared food and welcomed strangers into their homes. It felt like a family rather than a large city, where even deep trauma did not undermine the community’s strong fabric. I fell in love. After school ended, I decided to move there.

I had the honor of working as the Program Coordinator in a dynamic, actively growing primary care clinic established after Katrina. The side of our building read “Community Health Center,” so my work was focused on cultivating community within the sterile medical building. I worked with community health workers and clinic providers to support wellness programs created and led by patients. While the programs focused on topics like healthy eating, I witnessed the true healing come from bringing people together and forming community.

Magic happens when people work together and trust each other to the point of carrying each others’ best interests at heart and investing in the well being of one another. This is what started to happen in our weekly wellness programs. Attendance went from a handful of people to packed rooms. We danced together before sitting down to talk about portion control, and shared family recipes after passing out fresh veggies donated from the farm nearby. I left work exhausted every day, yet always energized by the vibrancy.

When I left New Orleans after five years to go to nursing school at UCSF, I said goodbye to one of my most beloved communities. The people who welcomed me into their lives and city also gave me the strength to lift off and set out alone to the next leg of my journey at UCSF to become a nurse practitioner.

Building community around health and wellness, no matter what that looks like for the patient population, is something I can’t wait to be a part of as a nurse practitioner in primary care. I can’t think of a more fun career path to venture down.”

Sarah Goodman, RN

UCSF School of Nursing, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Student

President of the Associated Students of the School of Nursing (ASSN)