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Aggie nursing on the front lines

Nursing student helps provide care to those fleeing ISIS
Sahale Eubank

Sahale Eubank ’25 has the same goal as any other nursing student: to become a nurse and provide the best possible care for her patients. However, coming from a family of missionaries, the road that led her to nursing school probably looks a bit different than most.

Eubank was born in Alaska, which is only the beginning of her unique life experiences. When she was just a month old, she and her parents moved back to Thailand, where Eubank primarily grew up. They never settled in any one place for long, as her parents run a relief organization called Free Burma Rangers.

“We work in Burma, which borders Thailand, Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan and Sudan, so I’ve lived in all of those places,” Eubank said. “In Burma, there’s a civil war that’s been going on for over 75 years, where the dictators are constantly oppressing the ethnic groups for natural resources and power.”

Because of this, Eubank has spent most of her life helping people within the conflict zones of the war. She and Free Burma Rangers work to provide people fleeing from ISIS with food, water and supplies, document human rights abuses and provide medical care to amputees, people with broken bones, infections, bullet wounds, air strike wounds and shrapnel wounds. This experience is largely what motivated Eubank to apply to the Texas A&M University School of Nursing.

“I specifically remember one night in Syria, a 13-year-old girl had lost her leg, and we were helping bandage it,” Eubank said. “Seeing the amount of comfort we were able to give her, I thought, this could be something I spend my life doing: working to see someone who is in so much agony smile for a little bit and make their life a little better.”

Eubank could’ve picked any other nursing program and even had a full ride to another school. In the end, she picked the School of Nursing simply because it felt like the right place for her and the best program to equip her with the knowledge and experience she needed to bring back to the front lines. It also didn’t hurt that her dad is an Aggie and graduated in ’83 from the Corps of Cadets.

Transitioning from such a contentious environment overseas to safer, more controlled classroom settings here at the School of Nursing took some time, but Eubank has seen it as another opportunity to learn and to even further broaden her worldview.

“It’s really shown me how different the American medical system is,” Eubank said. “It’s already progressed so far beyond what we’ve done with our frontline medicine because we’re doing emergency medicine, whereas here I’m learning how to be a nurse who’s in a hospital to prevent all of that from happening. It’s definitely different, but it’s all been beneficial.”

Eubank’s professors see the benefits as well, and lecturer and clinical instructor Ashley Anderson is looking forward to seeing how Eubank’s education and experience at the School of Nursing equips her to provide even better care to the people of Burma.

“I am confident Sahale will return to her home and the Thai people she loves to live out her mission of caring for those around her who need her most after being wounded in war,” Anderson said. “Her strong clinical skills and innate leadership skills will carry her far in life, and I cannot wait to see the nurse she becomes and the lives she will touch through her career as an amazing Aggie nurse.”

Even while she’s in nursing school, Eubank uses her breaks to fly to wherever Free Burma Rangers is working and help provide care to those most vulnerable. Once she graduates, she’s interested in splitting her time between working as a nurse in the United States and working as a nursing educator with Free Burma Rangers.

“I was raised doing this, so it’s very much a personal attachment,” Eubank said. “A lot of my friends and family were killed in the war, and so I feel this draw to go back and help the people there.”

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