A Northern Nurse success story: Keeping the faith

M.S. in Nursing graduate Maria Vanessa Simoy Mabazza was featured in NIU President Lisa Freeman’s Graduate School Commencement address December 2017.

Maria Vanessa Simoy Mabazza is one of those rare people who actually like being in the hospital.

As a young child, she had a fascination with all things having to do with hospitals. Her dolls became her patients. When her mother gave birth to her sibling, and Vanessa went to visit, she realized she felt at home there in the hospital.

A nurse was born.

Immediately after graduating high school in her native Philippines she went to college to become a nurse. She continued her career in the U.S. after emigrating in 2006.

She was already a full-time critical care nurse working the overnight shift at an area hospital when she decided to pursue her M.S. in Nursing to become an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner.

“I chose NIU because I knew they provided a good quality education, and produced graduates with great critical thinking skills because I was already working with them,” Mabazza said.

But attending NIU, especially after earning her degree over a decade ago, was intimidating. Her first class, statistics, was incredibly tough. “I thought if I could survive that class, I’d survive the rest,” she said.

She survived that class, only to face a bigger challenge. Her son became critically ill, and so did her mother-in-law who lives with her. Vanessa turned to her faith. She found stress relief through prayer.

Believing other students may benefit from faith-based support, she became instrumental in founding NIU’s own chapter of the national Nurses Christian Fellowship.

Her professors say her charismatic personality easily inspires her fellow graduate nursing students. Her commitment, confidence, and respect for others has made her a great role model. She encourages others to face challenges with energy, positivity, and faith.

We’re sure her patients will benefit from her inspired enthusiasm.

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