Osmosis News

How Osmosis Scholarship Grand Prize Winner Benjamin Curnett Plans to Have Your Back as a Future Nurse

Osmosis Team
Published on Dec 21, 2020. Updated on Dec 27, 2020.

We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on Osmosis’s caring community of future health professionals this week with interviews with all six of our 2020 Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship winners! Today, meet Grand Prize winner Benjamin Curnett, a Nursing student at Regis University in Colorado who really showed us how he plans to embody the Osmosis value of “Have Each Other’s Backs”in his clinical practice. Check out Benjamin’s full video on our scholarship page, or scroll down to the bottom of this article to watch it!

How did you hear about the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? 

I found the scholarship page as I was browsing the site. This was some time after subscribing.

What was your Osmosis Scholarship application process like? 

The application process was clear, concise and straightforward. I was encouraged by the stipulation that the video submission could not be edited. That made the video easier to make, but also assured me that my entry would be judged more on substance and less on style. 

It’s clear that you embody the value of Have Each Other’s Backs, but if you had to choose another Osmosis Value, which one would you pick, and why? 

I would choose Start With The Heart. People may occasionally take time to reflect on one of life’s deepest questions: why am I here? While an answer may be extraordinarily difficult for some to find, my own answer is clear. I’m here to help other people. I have a deep passion for learning and exploring, and I try to give back in a way that adds good to the world. A job in which the idea of helping others is central is incredibly important to me. It's that passion of purpose that pushes me to develop and grow as I pursue my career in nursing.

How have your experiences as an outdoor educator shaped your approach to patient care?

This is a fantastic question! Something guides will often say about a colleague is, “He knows the river,” or “She really knows the mountains.” What they mean is that the person has an understanding of the conditions, a situational awareness that keeps them conscious of changes in the environment from moment to moment. At the center of that environment is not the geography, but the group. Good guides anticipate problems by paying constant attention to what’s happening inside and out. This translates directly to managing good patient care. Developing the ability to anticipate a patient’s changes guides how I learn about nursing and how I can always strive to deliver the highest quality treatment possible.

You really focused on the importance of teamwork in your application video. What, in your view, makes a great teammate?

A great teammate knows the next move before the team makes it. They position themselves accordingly, and they help make sure everyone is ready to act. Importantly, they also know when not to act and to let things happen. Great teammates support the team leaders and the team members with equal competency, knowing that successful outcomes are more often achieved when everyone can do their best. Great teammates make all of these things happen with unfailing consistency, yet make their work seem largely effortless.

It takes time. Good teammates can come off the bench, as it were, by studying and preparing and being eager to take on their assigned role. But great teammates come only through gaining experience. Those experiential miles are best gained by being on a great team to begin with. Though thorough knowledge of one’s field is critical, seeing great teammate behavior modeled consistently can positively influence a student on a level much deeper than grades.

If you could do one thing different on your journey to nursing school, what would you change? 

While I wouldn’t change anything about my journey, I am definitely interested in changing how I walk the path that I’m currently on. A really important way I’m doing this is by changing my study habits. Being a non-traditional student, I was mostly ignorant of all the ways digital learning has improved the studying process. There are just so many great learning tools that are now available (oh, hi there Osmosis!). By streamlining my study time, using materials that maximize the brain’s capacity for acquiring new knowledge, and practicing techniques that reinforce long term retention, I’m a much better learner than I’ve ever been. And with so much to know in today’s healthcare environment, I feel very fortunate to have all of these great new ideas and tools around to help me learn.

How does it feel to have won an Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? Anyone you want to shout-out or give thanks to? 

More than anything, winning the Osmosis scholarship feels incredibly encouraging. Anyone in my position, navigating a midlife career change while taking care of a family, knows that there can be some serious doubt looming over each and every decision. It’s a high-wire act in which school, family, and life all hang in the balance. I have been fortunate to have a tremendous amount of support from my family and friends all along the way. I especially want to thank my wife, my kids, and my mom for everything they continue to do to help me achieve my goals.

How has COVID-19 impacted your studies, and what advice do you have for students navigating these circumstances?

With the constant logistical challenges COVID is forcing all of us to undertake, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the opportunities COVID presents us as students in healthcare. When the pandemic hit, I was in the middle of taking my microbiology prerequisite. Seeing the world stop at the same time I was directly learning about the nature of what was stopping it was, in a word, surreal. That situation continually reminded me that the pandemic, while tragic for many and difficult for all, is still and yet a learning opportunity. 

We are not the first people to go through a pandemic, nor will we be the last. We will do ourselves and our future generations a tremendous good by understanding how our behavior, especially in the way we communicate, affects the pandemic. How widely or how narrowly the virus spreads is largely up to us. As students, we should strive to continue our academic participation, mitigate our risk to the extent that we can, and stay involved in the healthcare at every opportunity.

About Benjamin

Benjamin Curnett is a student in the accelerated BSN program at Regis University in Denver Colorado, Class of 2021. He has been an EMT, a river guide, a kayak instructor, a NOLS instructor, and a ski patroller. Though leaning toward work in the ED or ICU, Ben is excited by all the career possibilities available in the world of nursing. His first degree was in creative writing, and he leaves a career in advertising to pursue nursing with the goal of helping people, families, and communities in need. When not with his family, he spends an inordinate amount of time at the dog park with his exercise-dependent puppy, Sunflower.


Interested in applying for the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? As part of the process, we ask for a video telling us how you plan to embody one of the six Osmosis values in your clinical practice. Applications will reopen in 2021!