Emily McDonald ‘25 climbs higher as she takes on dual roles at the Mount in both nursing and softball—all through the unwavering support of faculty, coaches, and peers.

Mount St. Joseph student Emily in white nursing coat in mater dei chapel smiling.

As a young girl, Emily McDonald always had a penchant for softball and academics, but she was not always sure what she wanted to study in college. Through the help of her family, however, her perception of both aspects of her life began to crystallize.

“My family has ultimately been my biggest inspiration to pursue college as well as college softball,” Emily says. “I’ve grown up in a big family and the one thing that has always stuck out to me is how hard my parents have worked to keep our family happy. I’ve always wanted to help those around me live a happy life and that is the most valuable thing I find throughout the [healthcare] field.”

Reflecting the devotion and work ethic of her parents, Emily decided to pursue a career in the medical field in an effort to improve the living conditions of whoever she can and take care of those who need it, just as her parents did for her and her family. In this way, Emily enters a space in her self-development where, through her diligence and achievement, she can begin to give back to others to equip them to do the same.

For Emily, it was her father, in particular, who served as the foundation for her softball-related achievements, as well as her strong moral background.

“As a little girl,” she says, “I grew up learning and watching him teach me not only how to play softball but how to be a good player. To be a good player I was taught to be kind to my teammates and respect anyone that was putting the effort in to make me better. We went to every travel ball tournament together and the memories I have endured from those times mean so much to me. He continues to be a part of my softball career from a distance now that I am in college, but has never missed an opportunity to support me.”

Heart & Mind in Softball and Nursing

With this profound support system and impressive twofold career interest, Emily looked to enhance her skills and apply her talent in college. Having heard very little about the Mount initially, Emily was intrigued when she learned about the success rates of its nursing programs, as well as the spirited and reputable coaches for the softball team.

“The Mount was the first school I visited,” Emily recounts, “and the second I stepped foot on campus I had a feeling this would be where I would pursue the next four years. When I received my acceptance letter I was extremely excited and it truly began to feel real.”

But only within a few months of beginning her first semester at the Mount, Emily could not quite pin down which position in the medical field she wanted to major in. Physical therapy was one of the more prominent specializations that stuck out to her at first, but the more she explored the Mount’s nursing program as an alternative, the more she became unsure. On top of that, she felt concerned about the hurdle that would be balancing softball and nursing. However, through the encouragement she received from her softball coaches and teammates, as well as her family, she knew she could manage for as long as she continued to work hard and remain dedicated.

When the semester began, though, and Emily started taking nursing courses, she realized that she was exactly where she needed to be. Her passion for nursing and a sense of belonging became abundantly clear through the careful guidance of her professors.

“I have been extremely blessed,” says Emily, “to have dedicated nursing professors that are there to teach me material along with working with me to make myself better. They are open to meeting with me during their free time and always answer all of my questions incorporating their experience in the nursing world.”

Quickly understanding how wholehearted the nursing faculty is, Emily witnessed how her professors were ready and willing to give advice, provide sincere help, and offer personal attention, proving to be an energizing, supportive force.

She noticed a similar phenomenon in the Mount’s softball team, where her coaches and peers not only reassured her of her nursing ambitions but continues to provide support throughout her college career as well.

“On the field and off the field,” Emily notes, “my softball team is there for me in so many ways. I am beyond grateful to have involved coaches that do everything in their ability to help me succeed and are there the most when times get rough. My teammates do everything in their power to help those around them and I have experienced it firsthand.”

Celebrating Small Wins

Such emotional reinforcement only spurs Emily on in her college career. The more she progresses through her program and obtains clinical experience, for instance, the more her enthusiasm grows for becoming a nurse. She exemplifies the power of a support system by not only maintaining her thorough work ethic and expanding her medical knowledge and skills daily, but also through working with patients, which she enjoys. While she is still uncertain about what precisely she wants to specialize in, Emily feels a pull toward pediatric nursing, where she can help children and infants.

For softball, Emily has traveled to Alabama, Florida, New York, and Maryland and has created indelible memories with her teammates. The support necessary to complete a nursing program is only further fostered by the closeness that she generates with her team.

Emily, moreover, allows herself to celebrate her accomplishments, no matter how small, which is key to fully appreciating success. She, for instance, recognizes every time she and her team win a game or perform well, or when she gets an A on a test or assignment. “Sometimes,” she adds, “I even celebrate the matter of just getting my work done on time.” Even if it is as simple as taking it day by day, there is always a way to cope and garner the energy to push on. Her advice to student athletes is to find the most effective way to do this. For her, practicing time management skills has been most beneficial.

Applying these wise habits and principles when looking to the future, Emily has faith that she can accomplish wonders. Having high expectations of herself, she continues to push herself to be the best that she can be. In this way, Emily develops the crucial self-discipline and fortitude needed for handling the responsibilities of being a nurse.

 Planning to find a job back home in Indianapolis to stay close to family, possibly as a PCA, or patient care assistant, Emily stays motivated and focused. But no matter where she goes, her morale will never waver because of her belief in God. With strong Catholic faith, she lives with purpose—her actions informed by the ultimate moral authority. By allowing God to lead her through “the good and the bad,” Emily augments her own potentiality beyond expectation, creating space for her to grow spiritually and professionally, along with her friends and family.

“I have grown a lot over the past year and a half at the Mount,” she says, “and this is something that I can’t wait to watch prosper even more with the support of those around me.”

About our Nursing Program: Learn More!

The Department of Nursing at Mount St. Joseph University has an outstanding reputation built on a century of educating nurses. Plus, nursing is among the degree programs with the highest return on investment for students. Nursing is among 11 programs analyzed in a study conducted by the US Department of Higher Education that enables graduates to recoup their educational investment within 5 years or less. Visit the Mount's Nursing page here to check out its offerings!