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Marguerite Lucea, BS, RN

Marguerite Lucea

Peace Corps to PhD


My entry into the nursing profession has been a somewhat circuitous path. I have been interested in careers in health and education from an early age, but I first focused on the field of education.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English in Turkmenistan (‘93-'95), I incorporated my interest in public health into the curriculum, addressing health issues in my classes that were pertinent to the community. Continuing to work in international education after the Peace Corps, I had the opportunity work in sub-Saharan Africa. There I observed health care providers who battled the growing AIDS epidemic daily. Their commitment to bettering the lives of those around them inspired me to find a way to incorporate my experience in education into the provision of health care. That is when I decided to pursue degrees in nursing and in public health.

I chose a career in nursing because of its philosophy of promoting wellness in a person, emotionally and physically. A public health nurse sees not only individuals but also populations. I chose Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing for its Peace Corps Fellows tradition and their Community Outreach program. Here was a school that valued service learning opportunities as part of the educational experience. Hopkins would allow me to continue along my path, providing an excellent education as well as tremendous clinical experiences in the community of Baltimore. Not only did the University value my past experiences, but it also encouraged me to cultivate new ones.

Two years ago, I came to the Johns Hopkins University to pursue the Direct Entry BSN to Combined MSN-NP/MPH in nursing and public health - the best of both worlds! Motivated by the desire to make a tangible contribution to my community, I felt this academic preparation would build upon my previous life experiences and provide a solid foundation for my future work with underserved populations.

I want to make an impact in primary care and public health; yet I also have uncovered a strong desire to make an impact on a larger scale. I have found myself questioning circumstances of health conditions, wanting to seek the answers to those questions, and realizing that I need the formal tools with which to address them.

Teaching in the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan and working in international education for five additional years, I began to understand how cultural diversity impacts all aspects of life. While working with AIDS orphans in Kenya and Tanzania, I acutely saw the ripple effects of disease on communities.

Through my clinical nursing experiences at Hopkins, I have learned to identify client and community risks, behaviors, and patterns and how to address them holistically. In my mind, research is the natural, inseparable complement to clinical practice, and I feel the need to engage in both. It is from this place that I will now continue on to pursue my PhD in Nursing.