Piano, Pageants & Politics

Countdown to the Crown: Meet Renee Banks, Miss Fall River 2017!

As I enter my final few months as Miss Massachusetts, 21 young women from around the Commonwealth are busy practicing their talents, hitting the gym, reading up on the news----and preparing to take my job. I've invited each contestant to be a "guest writer" on my blog and contribute a piece that demonstrates her unique personality, interests and experiences. Over the next several weeks, members of the Miss Massachusetts Class of 2017 will be featured in this series as we "Countdown to the Crown". This week's featured contestant is Miss Fall River 2017, Renee Banks!

Hi everyone, this is Renee Banks, Miss Fall River 2017! I am 20 years old from West Bridgewater, Massachusetts and am a junior at Regis College. My platform is Melanoma Awareness: Educate. Demonstrate. Terminate. which I chose because my grandfather passed away from melanoma in 2008 and after learning that this disease is almost 100% preventable, I knew I wanted to make it my mission to educate people on how to protect their skin. I am so excited to be competing at Miss Massachusetts this summer! The 21 contestants vying for the title of Miss Massachusetts in about a month all met in the heart of the commonwealth a little over a week ago to learn about the job of Miss Massachusetts, meet the other contestants, and pick our contestant numbers. Each year, we get to hear from the current Miss Massachusetts on what her year was like. Alissa’s talk this year was one of my favorites out of my three years of Miss MA orientations. She spoke so genuinely and truly shared with us the truth about what it is like to be Miss Massachusetts. My absolute favorite statement she made, however, was that competing at Miss Massachusetts and being Miss Massachusetts was not the biggest thing we would accomplish in our lives. I have thought long and hard about this statement she made and have applied it to my life. Here I am, preparing to compete at Miss Massachusetts for the third time, and although my life from now until June 30th (and hopefully continuing to September 10th) seems to be all pageant all the time, there is another goal I am working on reaching simultaneously, and that goal is obtaining a job in the medical field. Being Miss Massachusetts is one of my greatest dreams, and I am working my very hardest to accomplish this goal and to earn the opportunity to represent the Bay State at Miss America, expand my platform, and market this organization by sharing my personal growth experience. However, as Alissa stated in another part of her orientation speech, not everyone can be Miss Massachusetts and no one can help who those five judges think would be the best at the job on that given day. Although I believe I would make an incredible Miss Massachusetts and would represent our state with all my heart, there is a chance that I will never be Miss Massachusetts, and if that is the case that is okay because I have the rest of my life ahead of me to accomplish big things!

Regardless of whether I win the Miss Massachusetts crown or not, my work toward my goal of working in the medical field will never stop! I have just finished my sophomore year in the nursing program at Regis College with a goal of graduating in 2019 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. This past semester was a special one, because I had my first clinical rotation, which I had the pleasure of completing at one of our great Boston hospitals. I would like to share with you a short story about my very first day of clinical which gave me inspiration that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It was my very first day of clinical and I was SO nervous! I was stressing out about the fact that the very first thing we would be doing upon arrival on the unit was taking vital signs. In fact, I was sitting at the kitchen table of the woman I babysit for, who happens to be a doctor, at 10:00pm one night prior trying to learn the trick to taking blood pressure, because I was so bad at it! When I got to the unit, I got my patient assignment and got report from the nurse who worked the night shift. I was shaking when it came time to enter the patients room to take vital signs. I walked in the room, introduced myself, and started taking the patient’s vital signs. I soon became very discouraged, but the reason why is not what you’re thinking! I took all the vital signs, including blood pressure, perfectly! The reason I was discouraged was because my patient was in such a bad mood and seemed to be so mad at me. I left the room and my clinical instructor assured me that I was doing a fine job and not to be discouraged by a cranky patient. I had to take a moment to recollect myself in the break room. I gave myself a little pep talk and said to myself in my head: This is what being a nurse is about. I will have patients who are happy, sad, angry, etc. and my job as a nurse it to have a positive impact on every single patient I meet. In that moment, I decided that the goal for the rest of my career would be to make the day of every single patient I ever have better, even if it is only a little bit better. At the end of the shift, I went in my patient’s room to thank him for letting me be his student nurse and to wish him the best of luck. My heart melted when he responded to me by saying “You did a really great job today and I am really happy you were my student nurse.” I knew that I had made his day a little bit better. This was a life changing day for me because I knew in that moment that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. After ten weeks of clinical, I learned all about the different roles and responsibilities around the hospital while observing multidisciplinary rounds each week. My dream is to work in the field of neonatology at Boston Children’s Hospital someday. I am not sure if I will stop after I obtain my BSN and be a neonatal nurse, continue to earn my Doctorate of Nursing Practice to become a neonatal nurse practitioner, or even attend medical school to become a neonatologist… I happen to think “Doctor Renee Banks” has a nice ring to it! But what I do know is that I will never forget my first ever patient and how he changed my life by being my solidification that I want to make a difference in the world by helping to save the lives of others!

Want to meet the other contestants vying for the title of Miss Massachusetts 2017? Follow my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for weekly updates!

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