Nursing graduate shares her journey to a healthy lifestyle – UofSC News & Events

Gabs Amster grew up in a home where nutritious food and exercise were not part of
her daily life. By the time she was 15, she weighed 210 pounds, was bullied by her
peers and struggled with self-confidence

She knew she had to improve her physical and mental health and establish a new routine.
She started eating clean foods and going to the gym, where she walked — and eventually
ran — 5 miles three to five times a week. Inspired by her hard work, her family began
incorporating healthier foods into their diets and started accompanying her to the

“My mental state improved drastically when I became healthier,” says Amster, who is
from Charlotte. “I started loving who I was and became a new, confident person.”

At the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, Amster has used her personal
transformation journey to connect and empathize with many of her patients. After graduation
in December, she will begin her career as a registered nurse at Lake Norman Regional
Medical Center in Charlotte on the critical care unit.

“I want to share my story and be the inspiration for someone to find their confidence
to accomplish a goal,” says Amster.

Amster remained steadfast in her commitment to those health goals in high school and
into college. When the pandemic hit, new challenges arose — gyms closed, routines
were disrupted — and then Amster contracted COVID-19.

“I remember being so out of breath and unable to even walk to my bathroom 6 feet away
without feeling like I would pass out,” says Amster. After COVID, Amster found it
challenging to find a new health routine. “It’s been hard with all of the outside
obstacles, but I want to set a good example for my patients. So, I am yet again on
a new journey.  This time, less for weight loss, and more for healthy living.”

I want to share my story and be the inspiration for someone to find their confidence
to accomplish a goal.

Gabs Amster, College of Nursing graduate

Amster has found ways to connect with her patients by being open with her health transformation. During
her junior year, while working as an ultrasound tech, she courageously shared her
story with an emotional patient.

“My patient came in with peripheral vascular disease and was over 300 pounds. As I
was scanning, he noticed I was having challenges due to his weight, and he began to
cry,” Amster says. “I showed him pictures of myself in high school and talked to him
about my journey. I shared that he could make positive changes, too.”

As Amster enters the next chapter of her nursing career as an ICU nurse, she knows
she will be faced with new challenges, but also new opportunities to connect and help

“I feel a sense of power and dignity in my career choice as a nurse and the hundreds
of people I will help,” she says.

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