Laura Scott, Alumni Spotlight

Laura Scott, MSW, MA

October/November 2017

Laura Scott received her Master of Arts in Bioethics from Wake Forest University in May 2017.

Laura’s interest in Bioethics was preceded by her mother’s protracted decline at the Mayo Clinic. Her mother was a physician, and thus the family had a relatively high sense of medical literacy. However, even with this knowledge, they quickly became lost as the number of medical practitioners and decisions increased in her care. Laura was surprised at how bewildering it was and wondered how people with less literacy functioned in this environment. The first inklings of a medical career sprung from her desire to aid patients and family members in medical communication efforts.

Laura earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill while concurrently pursuing her bioethics education. Initially, Laura sought a Bioethics Certificate, to learn crucial ways to approach situations as a neutral observer, while at the same time absorbing and understanding the many competing perspectives involved in patient care. Her social work program offered education in social structures. The intention was to eventually work in palliative care, helping people make difficult decisions about their health during times of critical illness and end-of-life. But as Laura learned more about Bioethics, she found it intriguing and engaging so chose to pursue the Bioethics Masters of Art program rather than the certificate.

Laura’s practicum-based thesis contributed significantly to the formation of the position she now has at Novant Health, working primarily in the ICU and Neuro-ICU. She offers counseling, support, and assistance with difficult family situations and conversations. The area is ripe with ethical issues and she is frequently referring back to concepts leaned in the Bioethics program. That knowledge has helped her assist both families navigating the medical system and medical providers understanding different families’ values and perceptions of medical care.

Her favorite memories of the Bioethics Graduate Program are the community and discussion fostered by the faculty and staff. Although they are acclaimed experts in their field, she found them warm and welcoming of all discussions, which created an environment rich for openness in the classroom. She found camaraderie with many of her classmates and maintains friendships and professional interactions with many of them.

Laura enjoys spending time with her family playing games, watching movies, hiking, camping, and traveling.