Embracing Adventure and Compassion on the Path to Becoming a Nurse

Lila York hiking the Baxter Creek Trail in North Carolina.

Junior nursing student Lila York has an appetite for exploration and a heart overflowing with compassion. Originally from Chantilly, Virginia, York chose UT because of her desire to make a difference. 

“As soon as I stepped foot on UT’s campus and felt the energy, I knew this was the place for me,” she said.

An adventurer at heart, York has immersed herself in travel, extracurriculars, and academics. From traversing the landscapes of Europe to embarking on an epic road trip through 11 national parks, she has collected memories and experiences that have broadened her horizons. 

Standing in front of Mount Titlis in Switzerland.

“These adventures have nurtured my appreciation for diversity, cultivating a deep understanding of the importance of cultural sensitivity in providing holistic patient care,” she said. 

Beyond her academic pursuits, York finds fulfillment in her involvement with various extracurricular activities on campus. As a member of the Nursing Ambassadors program, she proudly represents the university and serves as a mentor to her fellow students. She is also involved in the UT Ambassadors program and theatre productions on campus. York participates in the women’s ministry Delight and in her sorority. Through these avenues, she contributes to causes close to her heart and forges lasting relationships.

York’s eyes light up with passion when she’s asked why she chose to become a nurse. 

“It’s not just about helping others,” she replied. “It is about creating personal connections with patients during their most vulnerable moments.”

Inspired by the nurses who have touched her own life, York recognizes the profound impact a nurse can have. She envisions herself as a beacon of support and encouragement, guiding her patients through challenging times with unwavering empathy and understanding.

Drawing inspiration from the stories of the nurses she encounters, York is driven to explore the endless possibilities within her chosen profession. 

“With nursing, I know I can help people from diverse backgrounds, travel to new places, and connect with extraordinary individuals along the way,” she said. “The potential for growth and the promise of making a positive impact are what motivate me to pursue my dreams. Nurses can truly make a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives, and I think that is something so special and incredible about the profession.”

Reflecting on her time at UT, York recalls the moments that have made up her college experience. Storming the field at Neyland Stadium after an exhilarating victory against Alabama remains etched in her memory as an electrifying celebration. But it’s the little moments of joy—lounging in hammocks with friends, belting out favorite tunes during karaoke nights, and sharing laughter-filled lunches—that truly define her UT journey and reinforce her deep appreciation for the connections she has forged.

Looking to the future, York envisions herself as a travel nurse, merging her passion for nursing with her love of exploration. She hopes to specialize in oncology with placements near national parks, where she can immerse herself in the serenity of nature while caring for patients. 

As she navigates her nursing education at UT, York acknowledges the profound impact of her peers in shaping her growth. 

“The culture of collaboration and support within the nursing program has fostered an environment of shared success, where we uplift one another and celebrate collective achievements,” said York. “Late-night study sessions, heartfelt conversations, and the unwavering support of my cohort have made my journey as a Vol nurse all the more meaningful.”

As she continues her path at UT and beyond, York remains grateful for the remarkable individuals she has encountered and the invaluable experiences that have shaped her into the caring and dedicated nurse she aspires to be.


Kara Clark (865-974-9498, kmclark2@utk.edu)