February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans, who have helped to shape our nation. In honor of the month, Rachel Bush, RN, a nurse in Akron Children’s NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, shares more about her career and what Black History Month means to her.
What’s your job title, and how long have you worked at Akron Children’s?
I’m currently a registered nurse in the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center. When I started at Akron Children’s in 2014, I was a medical assistant. But since that time, I’ve gone back to school to earn my degree, and I’ll be graduating in May with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Akron Children’s?
What I love most about my job at Akron Children’s is the impact we make on a daily basis for our patients and their families. Sometimes we meet people at their lowest point, but it’s amazing to be a part of their recovery, see their resiliency in action, and be a part of something good. It’s amazing to see the transformation process and watch the kids get better.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is important to me because it’s a celebration of not only the accomplishments and triumphs, but also the struggles and adversities of so many talented and persistent individuals who came before us.
Even though we’re all different, this month brings us all together and allows us to appreciate that diversity by recognizing that everyone has something to contribute, and we should be inclusive. Everyone has struggled and gone through a journey to get to where they are today. This brings us back to our baseline to establish a connection with one another as human beings.
It also takes us beyond our history. Sometimes we tend to focus on individuals who are well-known, but there are others who have helped to bring us to our present day. That’s important. It helps us understand that everyone has a story and can effect change. It’s inspiration for us to ask, what can I do to make the world a better place? What contribution can I make to improve things for my co-workers, my family, my friends or future generations?
How do you recognize and celebrate the month?
As a parent of two children, we take time to reflect about where we come from and where we’re going, not only in February but throughout the year.
Years ago, at my son’s school, my mom organized taste of culture events for Black History Month, where we shared traditional African American cuisine with the students. She shared stories of how she fell in love with cooking from her heart and soul, essentially “soul food,” at the hands of her grandmothers. It’s something she still enjoys doing for friends and family.
Now, it’s about spending time together. We focus not only on the struggles of African Americans, but also the accomplishments, even in our own lives, like me going back to school to earn my degree. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to reflect and think about the legacy we want to leave and how we want to move forward to effect change and promote equality.
Is there an African American in history who has made a big impact in your life or inspired you?
There are so many people throughout history who have paved the way for me, but my mom, Annette Bush, has been the most influential person in my life. She’s the best! What I appreciate the most about her is that she demands and expects excellence, but she’s also influential in helping me achieve that. She’s my biggest cheerleader and biggest supporter. I learned my work ethic from her. She provided me with a strong, faith-based childhood. No matter what obstacle or setbacks I faced in life while trying to accomplish a dream, she has always been the person to provide me with the inspiration and the drive to keep going. When I wasn’t sure how I could go back to school while working full-time and raising two kids as a single parent, she believed I could. She was always there every step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without her!