May 9, 2022
Contact: Marcus Wilkins, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kajol Patel is a self-described “extroverted introvert” — one of several unexpected combinations that emerge from her personal narrative. She is energized by others, yet she can be quiet and introspective. She is guided by faith while dedicating herself to science. She leads with her heart and achieves with her intellect.
“Nursing combines my academic pursuits with my patient-centered focus,” said Patel, a Columbia native and a 2022 Sinclair School of Nursing graduate. “I enjoy challenging myself and getting to know other people. In nursing, you get that patient perspective while getting to investigate medical science.”
Influenced by nurses
At a very young age, during her mother’s thyroid and ovarian cancer treatments, Patel was inspired by the nursing staff she observed. She remembers her family’s admiration and gratitude for the quality of care.
The experience also impacted Patel’s older brother, Ronak Patel, BHS ’16, BSN ’17, who earned master’s in care management (a nursing-related degree) at Mizzou and will graduate at the same ceremony as his sister this spring. The family nursing legacy even goes back to her grandfather who was a nurse in several areas, including neonatal and pediatric.
“My nursing roots have definitely inspired me,” Patel said. “My grandpa always had great advice about the profession and life, and my brother is someone I can go to for guidance. But he also asks for my input on his projects, so we have a mutual respect.”
The support Patel has received in college — from family and from Mizzou faculty and staff —has helped her accumulate an impressive stack of achievements. She is a Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honors Society member and an MU Honors College student who has made the dean’s list every semester at Mizzou. She has received a slew of scholarships, studied abroad in Costa Rica and, most recently, won the 8th Semester Student Award given annually to a nursing student who demonstrates overall excellence.
Patel was also mentored by Jane Armer, professor emerita and director of nursing research at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, whose oncology research investigates lymphedema associated with cancer and cancer treatments.
“Kajol’s life experiences have combined with her clinical and classroom knowledge and skills to create a competent and compassionate graduate nurse,” Armer said. “In thinking of the dozens of undergraduate research students in nursing and other disciplines I have mentored in 30 years, she is definitely in the top 5%. She demonstrates a professional commitment to nursing and a professional attitude toward patients, classmates and faculty, showing significant leadership potential.”
This week, Patel will receive what is sure to be merely her first nursing degree from MU. Not one to rest for long, she has already accepted a graduate post in the intensive care unit at Columbia’s Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital and will begin work there in July.
“The Sinclair School of Nursing, Mizzou and all of my professors have done a great job preparing me for my career and my ongoing education,” Patel said. “I’m excited to see what the next chapter has in store.”