From Candy Striper to Nurse Corps Officer: A Journey of Adventure and Opportunity in Healthcare

by | May 10, 2023 | Blog, home highlight

Contributing Author(s):
Dr. Broad headshot

Lauriann Mahealani Broad, DNP, APRN, WHNP-C, FNP-C, is not just any ordinary nurse – she is a pioneer with an insatiable thirst for adventure. Born on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, Broad was destined for greatness in the field of healthcare, following in the footsteps of her grandmother, a nurse.

As a teenager, Broad worked as a candy striper and later attended school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She quickly realized that there were many medical and educational deficits among pregnant teenagers that needed to be addressed. Driven by a desire to help these young women, 

“I was working with a lot of pregnant teens as an LPN. Because I had both a social work degree and training as an LPN, I realized I needed to get another degree, my registered nurse degree, and somehow combine the two.”

Broad earned her second bachelor’s of nursing degree and after working as a nurse for several years, returned to school to receive her master’s degree in social work, working in maternal-child health.

But that was just the beginning. Broad’s father, an Army reserve officer, encouraged her to join the air force reserve and later transfer to the Navy as a Nurse Corps Officer.

“My father was in the army reserve and said to me, ‘Well, Lauri, you see all the benefits that the military has to offer, and I think that you should maybe consider it,’” said Broad.

This decision opened up a whole new world of possibilities for Broad. She traveled the world on humanitarian missions, treating patients from all walks of life with a wide variety of conditions. Each person had their own unique story to tell, and Broad felt privileged to be a part of their journey to recovery.

“I had the opportunity to see and treat people from so many places. The little ways we would help that made people smile was probably my biggest gift. Even though it’s a minute time period in their life, I think that it still made an impact on many people.”

As she traveled the world, Broad always remembered her roots in Hawaii and the values and culture that she carried with her. She shared her stories and traditions with people from all over the world, breaking down barriers and building bridges of understanding.

It was a way of breaking ground with people saying ‘I am a part of the United States but I also have a separate culture in Hawaii.” Broad said.  “This is a part of my identity. Whether it was sharing stories, speaking the Hawaiian language or a hula that differed, it was my unique opportunity to represent Hawaii.”

After serving for 33 years on military missions worldwide and 29 years as a full-time civilian employee for the Department of Defense, Broad retired as a nurse practitioner. But she didn’t stop there. 

Broad continued to “Advance Knowledge, Advance Healthcare,” serving as an adjunct faculty member in Rocky Mountain University’s nursing department and providing medical support for NCIS on call. She still resides on her birth island of Oahu, where she continues to live out her passion for adventure and helping others.

Lauriann Mahealani Broad is a true inspiration and a reminder that working in healthcare is not just a job, it’s a calling. Her journey is a testament to the incredible opportunities and adventures that await those who are willing to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world.