Student Turns Internship Into Dream Job

Ellie Cavuoti has always had a passion for taking care of others. As a child, her dolls were usually covered in Band-Aids, and whenever family members got sick, she was the first to be next to their bed. As she grew up, Cavuoti became fascinated by the science of the human body and how a person’s physiological mechanisms work. It soon became evident to her and her family that she was destined to be a nurse.

Cavuoti wanted to begin her nursing education as soon as possible. Truman was appealing because it accepts freshmen into the nursing program.

“Once I actually got into nursing and working with patients at the bedside, I knew I made the right choice,” she said.

The summer after her junior year, Cavuoti was offered a 13-week internship with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Through this opportunity she gained valuable experience working with pediatric oncology patients, and also had the chance to contribute to published research.

As an intern, she was responsible for preparing medications, conducting assessments and helping patients get ready for treatments and procedures, but she also spent a lot of time comforting and playing with the children. Some days the children were doing well and were very happy and playful, but that was not always the case.

“Obviously, working with pediatric oncology there are going to be some difficult outcomes,” Cavuoti said. “Those days, thankfully, are rare.”

While she worked, Cavuoti always tried to go above and beyond to cheer up her patients and improve their stay at St. Jude. This included creating games to help make taking vital signs fun, and helping a child who lost his ability to speak find the right toy.

It was from situations like this that Cavuoti realized the difference little things can make to help children or their parents feel better. This newfound perspective invigorated her so that when she returned to Truman she was driven to study harder than she ever thought possible.

“After working at St. Jude this summer, I felt rejuvenated and motivated to learn absolutely everything I could about nursing and how to better care for my patients,” she said.

That vigor and enthusiasm paid off for Cavuoti, as she was offered a full-time position at St. Jude after graduation. She credits her success during her internship to her positive attitude and strong work ethic. She always made it a point to have a smile on her face and help out other nurses wherever she could.  

“I was so blessed to have this opportunity to work with such amazing people at St. Jude,” she said.

Cavuoti is excited about graduation and moving back to Memphis to begin her career. She hopes to one-day return to school to become a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner.

Wherever life takes her, Cavuoti will always be thankful for Truman and her time as a Bulldog.

“I would not be the person I am today without this school,” she said. “I cannot imagine pursuing my college career anywhere else.”

Ellie Cavuoti