Confidence and a love of learning helped Melinda (Wulf) Hull ’12, land a spot in a perioperative nursing immersion clinical at Theda Clark during her final semester at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
“As she interviewed, I as well as the nurse leaders from Theda Clark were impressed with her confidence and genuine interest in learning more about the operating room,” said former UWO nursing professor Sharon Chappy. “So Melinda started her rotation in the OR and immediately impressed people. She is smart, kind and very inquisitive. She loves to learn.”
But one day early in the semester, Hull walked to campus and was so exhausted and out of breath that she literally “fell into” Chappy’s office.
That was just the start of Hull’s journey with congestive heart failure, which eventually led to a heart transplant the summer following graduation.
“Melinda never wavered. She was so strong physically and mentally and that allowed her to push forward with each new turn,” Chappy explained. “We could see her condition deteriorating and we could see that the forecast for her was likely that she was going to need a new heart, but she still wanted to complete her clinical in the OR and the work that went along with that.”
Chappy and others in UWO’s College of Nursing advocated for and helped Hull graduate. They also awarded her money from the college’s emergency fund to help pay for rent and other bills. “It was a group effort. Many faculty and staff members and other students rallied around her to help in any way possible by taking notes for her, studying with her and driving her places.”
Finally, graduation day arrived. “At the College of Nursing pinning ceremony, when she walked across the stage and got her nursing pin, we were all in tears,” Chappy said.
Since that day Chappy and Hull have remained close, as Hull’s condition worsened resulting in a heart transplant, through her recover and struggle to find a “new normal” and during the good times, like the day she married her best friend, Eric Hull.
On her wedding day, Hull shared a tribute to her heart donor and also raised funds for a special cause. “When she and Eric kissed at the reception, people donated money that she gave back to the College of Nursing emergency fund. What a special woman she is!”