For Lawana Brown and Faydene Small-Jones, the story of Breonna Taylor - not the one the media has focused on about the end of her life but about all that came before - hit close to home. To these two veteran nurses, the loss of the dynamic, devoted emergency medical technician who aspired to become a member of their profession resonated powerfully and personally.

“Everyone is focusing on her death and the way that she died. Little has been said on who she was,” writes Small-Jones, an ICU nurse at the Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital and Steward St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Small-Jones, who is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) (nurse practitioner) degree at Regis College near Boston, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), wanted the world “to truly understand the essence of her being. Yes, she was an Emergency Room tech and had worked as an EMT but her story was buried under the handling of her case. How she lived her life and what story of her dreams was hidden away from the world.”

Brown, Director of the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program and an Assistant Professor at Regis, “was very surprised to learn Breonna had planned to be a nurse.” Like Small-Jones, she found “the media coverage focused on the tragic end of her life. I understand the importance of what they covered. However, hearing about her dreams and hopes from her mother was like getting to see who she truly was.”

Small-Jones and Brown got the opportunity to find out first-hand in a candid and compelling conversation with Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna and her younger sister Ju'Niyah. Palmer, a Grand Rapids-Detroit, Michigan native and Louisville, Kentucky resident, is a dialysis technician.

Brown is the mother of four daughters, two of whom work in healthcare. Small-Jones has three sons, the youngest of whom wants to pursue a healthcare field. “They continuously tell me that even though I do have the smallest feet in the house, I have the biggest footsteps for them to follow,” she quips.

Small Jones and Brown wanted to be nurses from the start. Ever since her daughter was five years old, Brown’s mother knew Lawana would become a nurse, while Small-Jones says “I have only wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. My mother told me even as a small child I would always bandage my toys and that extended to my friends as I grew older…I think I got the sense of nurturing from my mom, who became a nurse in Barbados (where I grew up). I started my nursing career late after marriage and children. I was daughter, sister, mother, wife and nurse.”

Both nurses were motivated by the experiences of family members. For Small-Jones, it was her brother who was born with meningitis with a prognosis that he would never walk or talk. (He grew up to become a police officer). When Brown was around 12, her grandmother died from complications of diabetes. “I had watched her lose her leg and her mobility and memory to this disease,” she recalls. “I wanted to take care of others, so they did not have to suffer in that way.”

Two “born nurses.” Three women in healthcare talking about the aspirations of a fourth who should be pursuing her dream to become a nurse today. Join Lawana Brown and Faydene Small-Jones in a compelling conversation with Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor.