Senior nursing student Chelsea Nye has been baking a lot recently, spending a lot of time up to her elbows in cookie dough. The Tennessee Tech University student will soon trade in her flour and chocolate for rice and curry.
The Crossville native has been baking to help raise the $3,500 she will need this summer during her trip to India on a nursing mission. Instead of helping to replace knees and hips at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, she will spend seven weeks working with lepers with AMG International, an evangelical mission and relief organization based in Chattanooga.
“This allows me an opportunity to work with conditions and diseases that we can only talk about here,” Nye said. “You’re not going to see someone with leprosy, with stubs and no hands or legs and their faces sunken in here in the U.S.
“That’s the type of nursing I want to do.”
The 21-year-old will leave for India from New York City on June 11. She will be in New York for the annual conference of the National Student Nursing Association. In the association, she was elected president of TTU’s local chapter. She also serves as the Middle Regional Director at the state level and was elected to one of four directorships at the national level this spring.
“I like being involved, it’s very rewarding to me, being able to encourage people to be leaders,” Nye said.
During her seven weeks in India, Nye will travel to three cities, working in everything from general medicine to gynecology, as well as working with leprosy and HIV patients.
She has been working throughout the semester at the hospital in Cookeville, assisting with hip and knee replacements. Though she enjoys the work, she says it is not what she wants to do after she graduates.
“I just feel like there is a greater need that others are not always willing to fill that gap. I just feel called to do that. It’s about fulfillment.”