"What I did on the field for four years is what I apply to nursing now."
A young mother walked into Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia panic-stricken. Her infant daughter, cradled in her arms, was motionless. Dana Davis ‘18, then a nursing intern from Robert Morris University, was among the first to intercede. “The baby was barely breathing,” says Davis. “She was almost blue.” Davis escorted the mother into the trauma unit while the child was taken into surgery. “They hit the ‘code’ button, and once they hit that button, everyone comes running,” she says. Hours later, the baby was OK.
Now Davis works full time as a medical/surgical float nurse at Philadelphia Children’s. She says her chosen profession parallels lacrosse, a sport in which she scored 102 goals in 68 career games at RMU, becoming one of the most decorated student-athletes in RMU history. “Both are fast-paced and require critical thinking and teamwork,” she says. “In the emergency room, just like on the field, you’re always on your feet. You’re always moving. You have to think proactively. You have to be ready for anything. What I did on the field for four years is what I apply to nursing now.”
What she did on the field — and in the classroom (3.92 GPA) — was staggering. So much so that the Northeast Conference not only named Davis its 2018 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in lacrosse, but its women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year across all sports. Put into perspective, that’s roughly 2,200 athletes from 10 schools spanning 14 sports.
A defining moment occurred late in her junior season. After tearing a rotator cuff on a Friday night against Central Connecticut State, she returned two days later — against doctors’ orders — to face Bryant in a game to determine the NEC regular-season champion. Amazingly, she finished with four goals and two assists in a 15-13 defeat. “I have a video clip where she shoots, scores, grabs her arm and puts her shoulder back into the socket, then hugs her teammates,” coach Katrina Silva says of Davis, who required offseason surgery. “That takes a lot of courage, and a little bit of craziness. She has it all.”
From 2015 to 2018, Davis was seemingly everywhere. On the lacrosse field she was a four-time All-NEC pick, and concluded her career ranked first at RMU in career ground balls, second in caused turnovers, third in draw controls, and sixth in goals and points. In her studies she was a four-time member of the NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher. In Central America she twice participated in goodwill missions to Nicaragua to provide healthcare to its citizens. In Australia, in her final foray as a collegian this summer, she played for the USA Athletes International lacrosse team.
“My plan was to go to college, become a nurse, and play the sport that I loved,” Davis says. “No way did I ever dream that I would have experienced so much at this school. I’m truly honored that things turned out the way they did.”