Our Nurse of the Week is Dionne Jaques, a recent graduate of Nightingale College’s associate degree nursing program. Dionne was recognized as the Class of Spring 2017 valedictorian, but that isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her fellow graduates. Dionne also exceled in her studies despite being told by many that nurses can’t be deaf. Now she is thrilled to help others who think they can’t pursue their passion for nursing because of personal limitations.

“Don’t let your limitations slow you down. You can still do absolutely anything you want to do. Prove them wrong.”

An inspiration to her entire cohort, Dionne’s limitations were only small hiccups along her path to success. Many nursing programs resisted allowing Dionne to join due to the supposed difficulties a deaf student would encounter in a nursing program, but she stayed optimistic and graduated this May with a 4.0 GPA.

Dionne has always been deaf, but it has progressed over time. She relies on lip reading and sign language to communicate, and uses her cochlear implant (a device that replaces the functions of the damaged inner ear) to assist her in understanding sounds and speech. This didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion; it simply fueled her to find other resources like a specialized stethoscope and phone app that allows her to visually analyze sounds.

As valedictorian, Dionne shared her story and emphasized to her graduating cohort that limitations should never slow them down on their road to becoming nurses. Dionne’s message today is simple: “Don’t let your limitations slow you down. You can still do absolutely anything you want to do. Prove them wrong.”

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