As a type-1 diabetic, Stacy Seiler knows firsthand how difficult it is for children and young adults to take on the responsibility of managing their disease and how vulnerable this time can be, especially during the teen years. In her youth, Seiler benefitted from the wonderful care of nurse practitioners whose warmth and optimism inspired her to enter the field.
“I had such amazing nurses in my life and amazing nurse practitioners as well,” says Seiler. “I knew that I wanted to do exactly what they did for me and help the same amount of people.” Now, she is looking to build from her own experiences, her education and clinical training at UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, and the many years she worked as a camp counselor and community volunteer to educate and care for those managing a chronic disease.
Seiler believes that self-care is empowering. She focused her UCI senior year scholarly concentration thesis on a clinical technique called Centering, a group-based model of care initially designed to provide prenatal care to pregnant women. She hopes to someday adopt this clinical model to suit adolescents managing diabetes. Seiler envisions that this new Centering technique will replace single-provider, one-on-one appointments with two-hour group sessions led by nurse practitioners. These sessions would give young diabetics the opportunity to share with and learn from their peers, while providing the education and tools they need to live healthy lives.
Seiler has always embraced life’s challenges and has used them as opportunities to grow and find purpose. Since 2010, she has been an ambassador for the Orange County Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and worked for the past five years as a counselor at Camp Conrad-Chinook. “As a scholarship recipient, I have had the opportunity and the time to pursue extracurricular activities outside of the classroom,” says Seiler. “I am motivated to volunteer because I want to create a community that thrives, a really healthy community.”
While attending UCI, Seiler served as a peer academic advisor for the nursing school, president of the UC Irvine Chapter of the College Diabetes Network, and a national student representative for the College Diabetes Network Headquarters. She volunteered at local clinics and charities, joined the Phi Beta Phi sorority, joined the Anteater Ambassadors Network and achieved academic distinction. Nominated by her peers, Seiler received the 2016 Undergraduate Excellence in Service Award. In addition, she was one of 30 graduates from UCI’s class of 2017 who received the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction.
Adeline “Adey” Nyamathi, Ph.D., ANP, FAAN, founding dean of the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, believes in empowering the nurses of tomorrow to be the voices of those in need. “Many of us aspire to become nurses because we want to care and express empathy for people who are suffering from illness as well as people who need advice and counseling on keeping healthy,” says Seiler.
That’s what it’s all about for Seiler. She is fulfilling her life’s purpose: to become a registered nurse who provides individuals managing a chronic disease with the care, compassion, optimism, education and tools necessary to build healthy and happy lives.