Christiana Prucnal always knew she wanted to work in health care. The Chicago native was inspired by “two stellar role models who were nurses,” and she wanted to follow in their footsteps.
She earned her nursing degree from Loyola University Chicago and worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Realizing she’d have more of a leadership and decision-making role as a physician, Christiana completed a post-baccalaureate at Northwestern and applied to medical school.
She was drawn to Brown in part because many students, like her, had worked prior to med school. She also liked the Primary Care-Population Medicine Program, which would teach her to address the systemic inequities in US health care. “Working to combat these root problems is going to require more than clinical medicine training,” Christiana says. For her master’s thesis she’s surveying emergency department nurses to understand how EDs can get more opioid overdose patients into treatment.
A fourth-year student, Christiana hopes to land an emergency medicine residency, followed by a critical care fellowship. “I’m drawn by the complexity of acute care and the ED mission of serving all comers,” she says. The dual training, she adds, will make her a better clinician and educator, and better able “to effect systems-level changes.”
In her free time Christiana loves hiking, running, and tending her “wildly overgrown” porch garden. She still works part time as an ED nurse at MGH—an unexpected “gift” during the initial surge of COVID-19, when the fear and anxiety “gave way to camaraderie and singularity of purpose on shift,” she says. “I feel lucky and grateful for that time and the ability to contribute a small piece.”