Chris Bastardi: Finding a calling in nursing

It’s no wonder that Bloomsburg University student Chris Bastardi wants to be a nurse to “love people who are at an uncertain or frightening point in their lives.”

Chris has known a lot of uncertainty and fear in his own life. And at each critical moment, God sent someone just in time. 

It began with Brad. Chris arrived at college ready to shed his Catholic upbringing, angry at the God who supposedly loved him, and scarred by depression and broken family relationships.

“Then I randomly met a guy named Brad who had a deep love for Christ,” Chris says. “At first I was a little weirded out by it.” 

Late in his freshman year, when Chris hit a low point, he confronted Brad with this question: How can you say God is good?” 

“Brad sat me down and we talked,” Chris remembers. “He told me that God never promised us an easy life, but He does promise His followers a life and purpose worth living for. It took me some time, but this conversation became a pivotal moment in my faith because it gave me a sense of peace I had never known.”

About a year later, Chris was a new believer in Christ when he hit more rocky ground.

“I was still questioning if I could really trust the Lord, and then I met Brenden,” Chris says. Brenden Scalley serves as CCO staff at Bloomsburg University. During their regular meetings, Chris shared his questions with Brenden—and was surprised when Brenden wouldn’t answer them.   

“‘What does Scripture say?’ might as well have been his slogan!” Chris says. “It drove me crazy, but looking back, I can see that he was challenging me to discover the answers for myself. This helped me grow greatly in my faith.” Then Brenden asked Chris to help him lead a Bible study, and Chris realized that he loved to see other students grow in their faith. 

Chris began to give what he had received, sometimes in ways he hadn’t planned. 

During the summer before his senior year, Chris began a hospital internship as part of his training to be a physician assistant. After a few days, an administrator pulled him aside. “I’ve been watching you interact with patients. Have you ever considered nursing?” she asked. Chris dismissed her question, but then a supervisor in another unit asked him the same thing. And then another. And another.  

“I began to wonder if God was speaking to me through these people,” Chris says. “However, I told myself that the past few years of my academic life would be for nothing if I turned back now. Someone asked me ‘Why would you become a nurse at this point?’ and I didn’t have an answer.” 

Then, getting ready to leave on his last day, still stewing over this question, Chris walked past a patient’s room. 

“I saw the doctors and physicians assistants standing outside the room, discussing the patient’s treatment while the nurses were inside the room working with the patients,” Chris remembers. “I stopped and stared at that picture for a while and said to myself, ‘God is calling me to nursing.’”

The next day, Chris withdrew his applications to graduate school and applied to Bloomsburg University’s accelerated nursing program.
Now in his last semester of training, Chris loves working with patients more closely. “I want to be a living example of how God transforms patient care,” he says. And he also knows this: God can work powerfully through people who show up when we need them most.