Nursing work spurs student's interest in health care law field


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Detroit Mercy Law 1L student DeAndre Robbins works alternate Saturdays as a nurse, on a contingent basis, providing patient care at rehabilitation centers —and says nursing has opened his eyes to the “dark aide” of health care.

“Patient neglect, severe understaffing, and abuse are just a few downsides of the healthcare industry,” he says.

The injustices Robbins has seen in the health care field have played a significant influence on his choice to enter the law.

“I also want to make a difference in the realm of civil rights. Corporate law appeals to my interest as well,” he says. “Health care provides an opportunity to fulfill most of my career goals. I want to fight for better and safer working conditions in nursing homes and hospitals. I want to protect patients and reduce fraud and I’d like to be a part of the corporate side of health care.”

Robbins came to the nursing field via his mother, who owns and operates a Certified Nursing Assistant school. Robbins took the class in 2013, with the aim of making a little extra money during his undergraduate years at Wayne State. He took a break from studies for personal reasons and used that time to attend the Toledo School of Practical Nursing in Ohio.

“Working as a nurse has been rewarding,” he says. “Performing CPR on a patient in distress and saving their life is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Watching a patient heal and leave the nursing home is also a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.”

His undergrad degree in psychology gives Robbins a better understanding of human behavior.

“No matter what career path one chooses, understanding human interaction is a critical component of a successful organization,” he says. “I enjoyed learning about the developmental landmarks a person should reach at certain stages of life.

“As it pertains to being a lawyer, psychology plays an essential part in understanding the motives behind criminal activity. Studying human behavior is also beneficial when negotiating, resolving disputes and determining if an inmate has the capacity for rehabilitation.”

Robbins is enjoying his law school experience.

“The University of Detroit Mercy does a great job in making me feel like an individual—I never feel intimidated when I ask for help, and I never feel ignored,” he says. “The professors are willing to respond to emails on the weekend and my mentors have been incredible. My only regret is not applying sooner!”

Being a Dean’s Fellow is an honor, he notes.

“Getting accepted into Detroit Mercy was already a high point in my life, but receiving the Fellows award was a blessing,” he says. “I don’t have any attorneys in my family and it was a struggle finding an attorney I could shadow in undergrad. My Fellows mentor is amazing! He really emphasized the importance of grades and let me know I can always come to him with questions. He’s a recent graduate of Detroit Mercy so he can still relate to my 1L struggles. I’m forever indebted to the school for this opportunity.”

A member of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Robbins will apply for the Wolverine Bar Association summer clerkship program this coming summer.

“Whether I work under a judge or work at a firm, I know the experience will help propel me further in my career,” he says.

Initially upset that classes were moving online due to the pandemic, Robbins decided to maintain a positive attitude and that has carried him successfully through the semester.

“I’ve been able to make friends, form a study group and even attend events with BLSA,” he says. “I also enjoy the time I save not having to commute to school. Overall the online experience has been good. I’m almost afraid to go back in person because of how much I enjoy the online courses!”

A native of Wayne County’s Brownstown Charter Township in the Downriver community, Robbins moved to Allen Park to be closer to the University. In his leisure time, he enjoys listening to music, audio engineering music and song writing, as well as watching stand up comedy, and exploring Midtown/downtown Detroit.

“I love Detroit,” he says. “The renovations made to downtown Detroit have made the city so much more appealing. Opportunities that weren’t available just a few years ago have finally come to the city. I feel lucky to live in Michigan and I can’t wait to join the Detroit legal community.”


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