Although the human body fascinated me, I never thought about becoming a nurse. I wanted to be a physician. I wanted to become an OB-GYN physician and deliver babies. That’s all I ever wanted to do. So at the age of 17, I enrolled in a pre-med program at a large university.

But then life got in the way. At the age of 19, I found myself pregnant. We got married and I had a miscarriage. While on summer break, I got pregnant again and because of complications, I quit school. Two years and 2 kids later, I found myself wondering if I’d ever realize my dream of becoming a physician. Let’s just say, we were barely able to support our children and ourselves – let alone pay for school. But I knew I needed to so SOMETHING. So, I went to a trade school and became a medical assistant.

It was while working in a clinic that I had my first real exposure to the world of nursing.

Why I Chose a Career in Nursing

I watched the nurses assess, treat, and educate patients. They held patient’s hands while explaining complex procedures. The nurses cried with them and advocated for them. They were so smart and compassionate and I found myself wanting to be just like them.

One late Saturday afternoon, I was hanging out with the nurses. The last patients were getting prepped to leave and one nurse out of the blue said, “Renee. What the heck are you doing being a medical assistant? Girl. You need to be a nurse!”

And so I became a nurse.

That was more than 27 years ago.

I became a nurse because I love science AND I love making a difference in the lives of other people. I became a nurse because somebody believed in me; believed that I had what it took to join this honorable profession.

Career in Nursing

Over the years, I’ve asked other nurses why THEY chose nursing. It’s actually how I open my popular keynote presentation, “Celebrate Nursing: Human by Birth – Hero by Choice”. What I’ve found is that people choose to become nurses for one of 3 primary reasons:

1. They were sick as a child, were cared for by a wonderful nurse and wanted to grow up to be just like that nurse.
2. Their mothers or aunts were nurses and they were a powerful positive influence on their son or daughter, encouraging a career in nursing.
3. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of other people.

Being a nurse isn’t easy. After all, we are in the service industry caring for the sick public, which means that every day you work as a nurse, you are being inconvenienced. It doesn’t matter how WE feel, we must always consider the needs of our patients first. However, when you recite the Nightingale pledge, serving the sick is exactly what you are signing up for.

During Nurses’ Week 2016, let’s never forgot the reason why we chose to become nurses and why we continue to honor the profession.
As Florence Nightingale so eloquently said, “Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?”

Happy Nurses Week!


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