WSU Doctoral Nursing Student Wins First Place in Nationwide Essay Contest

Courtney Polimeni wins 1st place award for Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest
Courtney Polimeni wins 1st place award for Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest

When Courtney Polimeni read the email from the WSU College of Nursing Director of the Center for Student Excellence, Chris Sogge, about an essay contest for medical and nursing students, she didn’t think she had the time to consider it. But as Polimeni read the proposal request, something about this one caught her attention and she decided to go for it.

The annual Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest asks medical and nursing students to write about an experience where humanism was at the foundation of the care they provide. The winning essays are chosen by a panel that includes healthcare professionals, journalists, and educators. In 2023, marking the sixth year the contest has included nursing students, more than 530 entries were submitted from students at over 90 nursing schools and over 110 medical schools. The essay contest is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

“This year’s winning essays are beautiful reflections on our shared humanity,” said Elizabeth Cleek, PsyD, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Gold Foundation. “I am deeply impressed by the winners, not only for their talent on the page, but as clinicians in training who exemplify heart and compassion.”

With a decade of experience in nursing, Polimeni immediately thought of a meaningful experience she had with a patient. She changed the names in the story and got to work writing her short essay titled “The Window”. A few weeks later, she heard back from the committee informing her she won first place in the nursing category.

“I heard back, and I was very happy to learn I won,” said Polimeni. “The essay I wrote illustrates the effect of your nursing experience on your perspective and how that influences the care that you provide.”

Courtney Polimeni is a Doctor of Nursing Practice student currently enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Washington State University. Originally from Rochester, New York, Polimeni moved to Spokane about three years ago. She has worked for both Providence Scared Heart Medical Center and Chas Health and will be applying to an ARNP residency programs upon her 2024 May graduation. She expects to pursue a career in formal nursing education as a professor down the road. In her free time, she is an avid fly fisher, runner, and bow hunter.

The top prize receives $1000 and their essays are published in Academic Medicine and The Journal of Professional Nursing in the 2023 fall issues. Polimeni’s essay (PDF) can be read here.