There are nurses who have some amazing, incredible, inspiring stories of why they decided to become a nurse. I am blessed in the sense that I have not had a life changing event that dealt with my health or someone near to me that introduced me to nursing. There was never a turning point or difficult time that lead me to my current position, but it was just a burning desire to care for others that’s always been in the back of my mind.
My journey into nursing started junior year of high school when I decided to take the CNA class taught by our school nurse. It was dual enrollment through our community college in town and I thought it would look great on resumes for college applications. I knew it was a position that would teach me a lot, but I was also hoping it would lead me to decide on my future career path.
I was hired on part time working at a long-term care facility my junior year of high school. It was stressful at times, getting off work sometimes an hour late and being dog-tired at school the next day. Juggling the work of a CNA with prioritizing patient care, dealing with difficult assignments and sometimes even difficult coworkers, while still managing school work and a social life in high school was exhausting. Once you got over the initial “shock” of what you do as a CNA as far as cares, routines, and back-aching work; the routine became natural and I really started to enjoy coming to work. It made me grow up a lot, seeing some things that you would never see on a typical day. I think it helped me better understand death and the toll it takes on a family, but it also helped me better understand life. (Yea, a little cliché).
What I often forget to mention, is that the CNA work not only led me to becoming a nurse, but it has helped me to be more positive and cheerful overall in every aspect of my life. It made me really count my blessings and realize how truly amazing life can be. Listening to the patient stories and their life hardships, as well as the rewards you get for your efforts really grew my personality and my goals in life. I met a lot of patients who had done a lot of traveling and it really sparked my interest. One of the amazing things nursing has to offer is that the need of nurses is everywhere, in every specialty and setting you can imagine. The flexibility, responsibility, excitement, and also the care of others drew me in.
I did consider other careers in health care. Physical therapy sounded interesting, with its focus on body movement and functioning, but it wasn’t the holistic care that nursing provided. I looked into medical school, which really wasn’t much of an option for my financial status and my impatience to work. I also considered other options such as surgical tech, radiologist, and physician’s assistant, but none of it ever appealed to me as much as nursing. I can still learn as much as I want, specialize however I please, and even continue on to becoming a health care provider within the nursing profession. The flexibility of the nursing profession is one of the aspects that I love so much, but also the role in patient care really satisfies my desire of helping others.
I have a five-year plan to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner, but in all actuality, it may never go the way I plan. It’s like a shift on the floor; you think your day is going to go exactly as you planned, but who knows when the next admit comes in or your patient starts deteriorating, or even that you are floated to an entirely new unit you didn’t even know existed. Life happens, and nursing will be with me no matter what direction it goes. It is also a career that will never get boring for me. I can move specialties, change settings, move to a new state (or country), and even go back to school and get another certification or degree in nursing and stay satisfied.
I always thought that my CNA course in high school was what really made my mind up about nursing, but really everything after that point continued to point me in this direction. My patients, my experiences, my coworkers, and my sister (she’s the coolest nurse of them all) has continued to lead me to love nursing. I can’t express how satisfying being able to say “I’m a nurse” is, and I hope that it always stays that way.