Monday, December 16, 2013

The Real J-O-B... Be a Nurse

Do you remember being a kid and talking about what you would be when you grew up?  Looking back now, I have to laugh at some of the ideas I had… an astronaut, a professional singer, a journalist, Miss America.  I had some lofty dreams, didn’t I?

Before I knew it, it was time for me to go to college and choose a career path.  Man, that is a scary time in our lives, isn’t it?  Ok… let’s see.  What is it that I really want to be now that I’m almost grown up?  While I was heavily leaning towards journalism, some personal experiences led me down another path… nursing.
My mother had been a diabetic for years, but her disease became much more brittle when I was in high school.  I spent time in the hospital with her when she was ill, I watched as she received home health care, I buttoned her shirts for her in the morning when her neuropathy took away the sensation in her fingertips.  I knew then that I wanted to be able to take care of her and others.  I also knew that there was a rural health scholarship opportunity that would take care of my entire college expenses if I received it, which would be a huge blessing to the financial burden that illness and another sibling in college can bring to a family.
I ended up receiving that scholarship and getting my undergraduate degree in nursing nearly fifteen years ago.  Since then, my career has allowed me some incredible experiences.

After graduation, I returned to a rural Texas hospital to work (as part of my agreement for the scholarship).  My mother worked at this same hospital, so it really was working with family.  I made some lifelong friends and gained valuable experience as I got my feet wet as a new Registered Nurse working in outpatient services and the Emergency Room.  You wouldn’t think that a little four-bed ER would be that exciting, but when you work in a community of hard-working, salt of the earth folks, you just never knew what would come rolling through your doors!

Another blessing of choosing this career path was meeting my husband in nursing school… after we were married, we worked as travel ER nurses for a year and a half.  That was such a wonderful time.  We lived and worked in California for three months before heading back home to Texas for the holiday season.  Then we took an assignment in North Carolina where we lived in a beach house for six months (wish we would’ve stayed longer).  Our final assignment was in Baltimore, but we lived in beautiful Annapolis, home of the Naval Academy and sailboats.  During our assignments, we made sure to take in the local attractions to make the most of our time in each location.  It was fabulous *sigh*.

After Baltimore, we decided to put down roots back home in Texas.  My hubby left the ER behind for a supervisor position (where he remains today) and I worked in the local hospital ER until we were expecting our first baby.  Knowing that two nurses working day shifts would have trouble juggling childcare, I transitioned out of the ER into an outpatient surgical center.  I worked in Pre and Post-Anesthesia Recovery for four years and eventually delved into nurse management… when being a manager began to interfere with me being a wife and mom, it was time for another transition.

Currently, I work as an Infection Preventionist – I’m still a nurse, but I’ve transitioned out of bedside care and into program oversight.  I’m able to indirectly affect patient outcomes every day, and still be able to have a career without my family suffering the effects of it.

Can you see one of the greatest advantages of the nursing profession?

Choosing to be a nurse opens so many more doors for career experiences: Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Clinic Setting, Surgery, Intensive Care, Flight Nurse, Administration, Quality, Public Health/Epidemiology, Neonatal, School Nursing, Teaching… you get the idea?

Fifteen years, one husband, four states, and two daughters later… I’m still a nurse and so glad that I am.  I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I’ve been able to wear several different hats within my profession since then.   Who knows where the next fifteen or more years of my career may lead?

Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*
 As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.
 Are you ready for a change?  Learn more at
 * Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
 † Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.

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