Josie Woodward – Graduate Spotlight

Golden Girl dances her way through Mizzou Nursing to the Pulmonary ICU.

Josie Woodward smiles in black scrubs.

Josie Woodward, a future pulmonary ICU nurse and co-captain of the Golden Girls dance team at Mizzou, is an inspiration to many. Since beginning classes at the Sinclair School of Nursing, she has balanced her passion for dance with demanding nursing studies and became an official Mizzou Nurse at commencement on May 12.

With a keen interest in science and health care, in addition to not being ready to give up her dance career, she toured several schools while looking for the perfect fit. Mizzou caught her attention right away. Josie says, “I visited the Sinclair School of Nursing my senior year, and I really think it was the people that I was drawn to – people like Eryn Buckner and Laura Anderson. The feeling I got was that I needed to be a part of it.”

She was also immediately drawn to the Golden Girls dance team because of their gameday traditions and respected the way they uphold themselves as ambassadors of the university. “One of the best pieces of advice that my mom gave me was to surround yourself with people that you want to be like in five years and they were a group of girls that I knew I wanted to be a part of.”

Being a dancer has also helped her in her nursing career, as she has learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration, which are essential qualities for anyone working in health care. Not only does she love being a part of a team, but she appreciates the honor that comes with being a nurse and advocating for her patients, stating, “The role we get to have as an advocate for our patients is super special.”

Josie’s journey as a student nurse and dancer has not been easy, but with the support of a team including professors, preceptors, fellow nursing students, Golden Girls, coaches and advisers – she has managed to navigate the challenges and sometimes hectic schedule with grace. Specifically, she credits Eryn Buckner, a senior academic adviser at SSON, for helping make her dream of being a Golden Girl and a Mizzou Nurse a reality.

She recalls reaching out to Eryn sophomore year, wondering if it was even possible. Eryn’s response was, “No problem, we will figure it out and get it done.” According to Josie, Eryn was right. Through scheduling conflicts and rearranging clinical or practicum, Eryn was Josie’s go-to for assistance and always did her best to find a way to make things work.

Josie Woodward’s story is a testament to the power of determination and hard work that exemplifies a true Mizzou Nurse. She has shown that with the right mindset and an incredible support system, anything is possible. Josie sums it up nicely by saying, “Nurses are understanding, compassionate and supportive and I think that’s some of our best qualities. I’ve been fortunate to experience those qualities, firsthand, at the Sinclair School of Nursing.”

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