How one nurse inspired her patient to follow in her footsteps 6 years later

Partnered Content

J’Lah Dukes reuniting with her nurse from six years ago. (Children’s of Alabama)

J’Lah Dukes was diagnosed with tuberculosis when she was 12 years old, and instead of being set back by her diagnosis, she decided she wanted to become a nurse and help children like her. We got to tag along as she reunited with the Children’s of Alabama nurse who treated her six years ago and inspired her to follow that dream.

A sweet reunion

Meet J’Lah

Jlah Pic 7 How one nurse inspired her patient to follow in her footsteps 6 years later
J’Lah graduated high school last month and is ready to pursue her nursing career. (Children’s of Alabama)

J’Lah was amazing to meet, and we could tell that her positive attitude could light up a room in just the few moments we were able to spend with her.

She’ll be the first to say that getting tuberculosis at the age of 12 was a difficult time and came with many trials. She told us that she had never had anything worse than a cold up until her diagnosis, so she had no idea what to expect.

Her first time at the hospital was definitely confusing and frightening, but that’s where the incredible staff at Children’s made the difference.

Learn about more of the inspiring patients at Children’s.

This nurse provided comfort + normalcy during a scary time

Jlah Pic 5 How one nurse inspired her patient to follow in her footsteps 6 years later
Geordan Chapman and J’Lah Dukes. (Children’s of Alabama)

Geordan Chapman is one of the nurses who took care of J’Lah during her time at Children’s. J’Lah credited Geordan as the nurse who had the most impact on her, and made her feel so comfortable during a scary time. She always made sure J’Lah understood what was happening and took her mind off of the tuberculosis.

“Geordan is the nurse that stands out to me the most. She always treated me the same as if I were just someone here visiting, not as a patient. She and the other nurses made me feel like so much more than just a patient with tuberculosis.”

J’Lah Dukes

The feeling is mutual for Geordan.

“J’Lah was like a little sister to me. We would just joke around. I wanted to help her have as much fun as she could and hopefully spend a little time forgetting she was in the hospital.

It’s humbling just to know that someone I took care of six years ago remembered who I was and that I had an impact on her career choice. You always wonder what happens to your patients once they leave the hospital, so being able to see what she’s become has been an honor.”

Geordan Chapman, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Children’s of Alabama

J’Lah has big plans for the future

Jlah Pic 2 How one nurse inspired her patient to follow in her footsteps 6 years later
We can’t wait to see the big things J’Lah accomplishes. (Children’s of Alabama)

J’Lah didn’t always know she wanted to be a nurse. Her mom has always said it would be perfect for her, but it wasn’t until people would ask her about her experience in the hospital and she was able to tell them how comfortable she felt there that she knew she wanted to do the same for others.

By the time graduation started to roll around, she knew without a doubt that she wanted to become a pediatric travel nurse and work in a hospital like Children’s. She has been accepted into Alabama A&M University, and thinks she may transfer later to the UAB School of Nursing.

“My goal in life is to make children feel safe and cared for, and as comfortable as I did when I was in this hospital.”

J’Lah Dukes

Want to work at Children’s of Alabama? Follow them on Instagram or Facebook or visit their website to apply for a job today.


Callie Puryear
Callie Puryear
Articles: 316