I frequently get asked why I decided to become a nurse. Especially when it meant that I would have to go BACK to school and start over with a new degree.
Before I went back to school to become a nurse, I was a middle school teacher.
After earning a Biology & Chemistry degree, I taught 7th and 8th grade science in an inner city school in Newark, NJ for 2 years. While I loved being around the kids and learning from their life experiences, I knew it was not something I was passionate enough about to continue doing it every single day.
As a teacher I felt overworked and under-appreciated. We hear this all the time from teachers, because it is so valid, I was unable to see the fruits of my labor in the day to day. Which as you can imagine, is exhausting. Those that are teachers truly have a passion and love for what they do. I sincerely applaud and respect any person that is teacher - your job is nearly impossible and you still manage to show up every day and do your best. Again, why are they able to do that day in and day out? Because they are passionate about their work.
I simply did not have that fire for the profession the way I felt I should've. I saw how others led a classroom, I saw the work they did for their students and I knew I was subpar. For that reason and many more - I had to make the tough decision to leave.
Finding your career is similar to finding the love of your life, if you aren't feeling it, it isn't meant to be. I made the decision to leave the work force and go back to school for something I thought I would feel more passionate about. Healthcare.
I made this decision after I had spent many hours in hospitals in school AND with my grandmother. I observed nurse run the care of my grandmother, I saw them advocate for her, I saw them educate her and my family, I saw them HEAL my grandmother, even if only emotionally. I fell in love with the idea that science & love could come together in a profession in healthcare.
Learning about the function of the human body was always something that intrigued me, so it was not hard for me to take on that aspect of nurse life. Once I began nursing school and studying pathophysiology + nursing fundamentals... I knew. First semester of school, I knew. This was it. Nursing was the career I was looking for.
While teaching was my first career, and one that taught me so much about who I am as a person, it simply was not meant for me and I was not meant for it.
I did not wake up each day before work EXCITED to go, I vividly remember calling my family every day on the way to work, crying... I was so unhappy and dissatisfied with what I was doing. It was like I was in an emotionally abusive relationship struggling to find a way out. I knew I needed change but the LEAP from earning an income to starting over FRESH was terrifying... But I did it anyways.
Once I committed to going back to school it was like weight was lifted from my shoulders. I was not 100% sure that nursing was what would make me happy, but I knew teaching was not it. So... I took the leap.
I took a leap, I broke up with something that no longer served me and by doing the scary thing, by starting over, by getting out of my comfort zone - I discovered something I love.
Sure there are parts of nursing that are not fun, things that I do not enjoy about the job. It is not always rainbows and fairytales... but it makes me HAPPY. I feel fulfilled when I leave a shift knowing I did all I could do to help my patients get and/or feel better.
It is hard for me at times to answer WHY I decided nursing was for me, because there is not always a simple answer, BUT now that I am here I know that I was led here for a reason.
My advice to those of you that are unsure of whether or not a career is for you - TRY IT. You have ONE life to live and you will absolutely NEVER know if you don't attempt. Listen, failure is inevitable and actually a pretty beautiful thing. We can't stop moving forward because we are afraid we might fail, or might not like something. If there is something you think you may want to try, TRY FOR IT, chances are you have a whole lot more to lose NOT giving it a try. <3 <3