The Future of Nursing Six Members Smaller

April 6th, 2012


By , BSN, RN

Six nursing students will not be taking the NCLEX this year or ever after they were gunned down in their classroom earlier this week in Oakland, California.

Six people from different countries, with different plans for their futures, came together every day to learn the art of nursing; to learn the skills of caring for the ill and injured; to learn how to share knowledge, educate and inform others on how to stay fit and live healthy lives. These people, these six nursing students, wanted to serve their communities, better their lives and those lives around them by working as nurses. As a profession, this is our loss, even though most of us did not know them personally.

  • Sonam Choedon – Two years ago the 33-year-old Choedon moved to the Bay Area after years of working for the exiled Tibetan government in India. She quickly became part of the tight-knit Tibetan-American community and decided to pursue a career in nursing. Her murder has cast a shadow of sadness over the Tibetan-American community, which has sent many aspiring nurses to the small Christian university. "She's a really caring person," said Thepo Tulku, one of the founding members of the East Bay's Tibetan exile community. "That's why her dream was to be a nurse, helping people."
  • Lydia Sim – This 21-year-old babysat children at Hayward Baptist Church while attending nursing classes at the university. Daniel Sim said his sister was drawn to the school because of its predominant Korean American student body, as well as its faith-based teachings. She was studying for her nursing degree, but her ultimate goal was to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.
  • Tshering Rinzing Bhutia – Bhutia, 38 years old, worked nights as a janitor at San Francisco International Airport and attended nursing school classes at Oikos in the mornings. He lived alone in the city's North Beach neighborhood. Those who knew him described him as a gentle man, a Budddhist, who had migrated to the United States from deep in the Himalayan mountains.
  • Doris Chibuko – Forty-year-old Nigerian mother of three, Chibuko studied and practiced law in her home country of Nigeria before marrying her husband Efanye Chibuko in 2002 and emigrating to the United States. Chibuko was two months away from her planned graduation from the small private college. “My wife was beautiful person but her life was cut short,” her husband told the Associated Press. “My wife’s face will always be in my mind.”
  • Grace Eunhea Kim – Kim is remembered by her co-workers as fun loving and full of life. The 23-year-old was working her way through nursing school as a waitress at a local restaurant and brewhouse. Alfred Anderson, Kim’s friend and employer, said he sought out Kim to work at his restaurant because he wanted her charismatic personality to influence his crew. “She had so much energy, always laughing. She just had the right attitude,” Anderson said.
  • Judith Seymour – The 53-year-old mother of two was following in her parents’ footsteps when she decided to study nursing. The former tax analyst was also only two months from graduation and looking forward to starting her new career. Both her mother and father had been practicing nurses in New York, before moving to their native Georgetown, Guyana. "You don't think someone going to a nursing school is going to be killed by someone crazy with a gun," said her fiancé, 55-year-old union rep Timothy Brown. "One moment she's here, and one moment she's gone."

An employee of the school was also killed in the shooting. Katleen Ping, 24, was the secretary/receptionist at the front desk in the university’s administration department. She had worked at the school for approximately seven months to support her family and her 4-year-old son. She had moved from the Philippines to Oakland in 2007.

As a community, as nurses, we have lost part of our future. Take a moment to appreciate all you have today, your families, your friends, your life, and your career in healthcare.

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