Melody Henderson: Accelerating Improved Patient Care

Nursing student Melody Henderson wears blue scrubs and smiles holding a stethoscope.

Melody Henderson’s conviction that underserved communities deserve high-quality care propelled her to accomplish a bachelor’s degree in health education. As a graduate of Cal State LA’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, administered by the College of Professional and Global Education and the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing, Melody is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a public health nurse and nurse educator.

While completing her Bachelor of Science in Health Education at California Baptist University in Riverside, Melody became engaged with communities facing barriers and limited access to resources including medical care, education, and basic survival needs. “By volunteering with organizations such as the Salvation Army, I experienced first-hand how complicated health issues can be for people because of circumstances beyond their control,” Melody says. “Many people have limited access to health care and basic needs such as clean water, vaccines and proper nutrition based on where they live.”

As a result of her initiative and a desire to assist the underserved, Melody has been able to successfully balance her education with volunteer activities and internships.

She organized a group of college students to help homeless individuals in partnership with two local churches in Riverside. An internship as a health coach at a neighborhood clinic provided Melody with an opportunity to meet with patients living below the poverty line to help them understand their diseases, and create practical action plans for achieving their health goals. As a career consultant with ResCare Workforce Services in Orange County, Melody connected people to community and housing resources. Internationally, Melody has volunteered to build houses in Mexico and taught English to children in Indonesia and adults in Spain.

Melody’s background in health education combined with her extensive experience working with communities in need both locally and abroad set the stage for her to attend Cal State LA’s highly regarded ABSN program, which is designed for students who already possess a bachelor’s degree in a different field but lack licensure to be a registered nurse. “I chose the accelerated nursing program because it complemented my first degree and allowed me to complete my course work in only 15 months,” Melody says. “The education I received at Cal State LA allows me to help others in a comprehensive and holistic way. It provides me with a tangible way of working with people in hospital, community, and global health settings.”

While at Cal State LA, Melody was the recipient of the prestigious NURSE Corps Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration, marking the first time a Cal State LA student has received this honor. The scholarship provided Melody with welcome financial support, covering tuition expenses and other school-related costs during her final academic year.

With the help of Cal State LA’s ABSN program, Melody was able to prepare for a career as a registered nurse. Hands-on clinical course work at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, allowed her to gain experience and exposure to several fields in nursing, preparing her for the next step of her career.

The culmination of Melody’s educational journey took place recently when she sat for the National Council Licensure Examination-RN for licensure and certification. “After I become a registered nurse, I hope to explore several different types of nursing, including public health, emergency medicine, rehabilitation, disaster relief, and nursing education. I am committed to becoming a skilled and compassionate health care provider because I feel so strongly about helping people prevent disease, gain access to health care, and overall, have a better quality of life. I want to be part of a team that is fighting to find solutions to these problems.”