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DECATUR – Taylor Prasun is following in her grandmother's footsteps.

Taylor's grandmother, Marilyn Prasun, holds a doctorate in nursing, and she invited Taylor, a 2019 graduate of St. Teresa High School, to job shadow with her while Taylor was still in high school.

“The summer before my junior year, I had a job shadow opportunity at Springfield Memorial Hospital in their heart failure clinic,” Taylor said. “I job shadowed a bunch of different medical professions. I knew I was interested in that field, but I hadn't decided what I wanted to do yet. I shadowed a pharmacist, a bunch of different nurses, like cardiology, and then I got to do a special project with the pharmacist.”

The project examined how some drugs could exacerbate heart failure, Taylor said.

“I got to go in and see patients and I just did a bunch of reading in the literature and then doing some data entry into Excel sheets and stuff, background work,” Taylor said.

“During that process, we were making a change in our process in communication,” the elder Prasun said. “How we communicate and raise awareness regarding medications. She was intrigued, and I had her do a literature search. For a young person, she really got into the literature. She had some interest in a health care future profession and she really studied and did a nice search for us.”

At the conference, The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, held June 27-29 in Austin, Texas, Prasun was presenting on the change in process and asked her granddaughter to accompany her.

“Since she had done such a nice job on the literature search, we included her name on the process change poster,” Prasun said. “She got to shadow me at the conference and helped run the heart failure patient foundation booth – we have started a patient foundation – and spent time with me there, sharing the information and the importance of good patient education.”

By then, Prasun said, Taylor had settled on nursing as a career goal and been accepted to Bradley University in Peoria, where she will start classes this month.

The conference allowed Taylor to meet nurses from all over the country, and Prasun said they were all welcoming and helpful in answering Taylor's questions and exposing her to the variety of fields available to her in nursing.

“I think the more we can engage young people in different career opportunities, the better,” Prasun said. “If you people are exposed to your profession and what a great impact they can have, then they can make informed decisions. Sometimes young people start college and are really not sure what they want to do.”

Attending the conference and helping with the presentation was exciting, Taylor said, and networking with all those nurses gave her a lot to think about.

“I was interested in pharmacy, and the pharmacist was awesome,” Taylor said. “But I really like nursing, and the one-on-one patient care. I like being there for support and there's a wide variety of stuff that you can do with that.”

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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