The Reason I Became a Nurse

by hrivera

2,781 Views | 8 Comments

As a child, we often dream about what we want to be when we grow up. So many times the ideas change from one thing to another before we settle on what that is. From early on I knew I was to be a nurse and that nothing was going to stop me. It took persistence because early on I kept getting doors shut until I found one professor that led me to an alternate route but to the same destination.

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    The Reason I Became a Nurse

    Nursing is and has always been a calling for me. As a young child, I remember the very first time I stepped foot in a hospital. I was 5 years old; my parents were missionary preachers and often visited ill people and their families in the hospital for spiritual services. I was often left to wait in the lobby as a child, and at the time, was not allowed in acute care areas. But that didnít keep me from watching all the men and women in lab coats and scrub uniforms in the hospital lobby. The organized chaos and noise in a hospital environment fascinated me so much, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    My parents moved to Newark, NJ, a very urban, crime infested city that was full of many dangers when I was 14. A year later, I managed to get a volunteer position at a local university hospital in the border baby clinic. The border baby clinic was an area in the hospital where abandoned newborn babies were kept while placement was found through child protective services. I would spend time swaddling, cradling, and feeding the babies on weekends. I became a teenage mom at the age of 16. Being a young pregnant teen, I knew I had to make wise decisions not only for my future but for my baby as well. I transferred out of my vocational school to a public school which allowed me to graduate early due to an excess of credits. I was more driven to chase my dream in becoming a nurse.

    With my official HS graduation more than 6 months away and no more high school classes to attend, I marched over to my local county college, 5 months pregnant and attempted to enroll. I was turned away several times. But that didnít stop me. The rejections fueled my determination to get closer to my chosen career. Thanks to the references provided by my high school Principal and four other faculty members, my persistence paid off and I got in to college and take the pre requisite courses for nursing. At age 17 I took the entrance exam for the nursing program. With a stellar above average score AND a solid 4.0 GPA, I was on a 2 year wait for the nursing program! Unfazed, I knew there has to be a way to get in to the program quicker. I confided with nursing faculty members to see what options were there to get into the program. None of them were able to help. My desperation was apparent that a fellow professor folded and confided in me of a new evening nursing program. There were 87 seats available in this pilot program. Only 23 students graduated the program 2 years later.

    I became the youngest RN in the state of NJ since 1962 at the age of 19. Every day I thank God and my mother for the strength and encouragement to persevere in the face of so many obstacles I faced in my youth. I hope my story serves as a motivation to many girls out there who are living in less than ideal conditions, who have to catch the bus to and from work school in freezing weather, who feel unsafe in their neighborhood/ streets, who have had a kid(s), and who have to work and pay for school. No one said nursing was easy, more so for a young teenage mom. But if you persevere and fight for what you want and believe in, your dream is yours for the taking. Look where it got me. J
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 15, '13
    MarlynneRN, ktliz, herring_RN, and 1 other like this.
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  4. About hrivera

    I come from humble beginnings but nursing has blessed me with riches. I love shopping and fashion.

    hrivera joined Dec '13. Posts: 1 Likes: 4; Learn more about hrivera by visiting their allnursesPage


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    8 Comments so far...

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    Amazing!! That just goes to show with determination you can do anything you want!! I too was a teenage mom x2. Stillbirth at 16, and healthy boy at 17. I am now 24 and just finished my first block. I love healthcare, patients and nursing. Glad to read personal statements such as these that keep me going!
    herring_RN likes this.
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    Good for you!

    Thank you for writing this article.
    I think it will inspire people hoping to be a nurse.
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    Motivation is key. And if you want something you so desire anything is possible. I started my LVN program 7 months pregnant. I received a lot of discouragement and negative feedback but I knew in my heart nursing is something I so passionately wanted to do - regardless of my circumstance. Two months later and two months into the program during 2012 December vacation holiday, I gave birth to my son. It was the best day of my life and looking into his eyes I made a promise. A promise that I know will forever change his future. Thirteen months later, I graduate the LVN program next month. This was all done for my son and for my family. My motivation, my drive, and my passion of becoming a nurse has and will ALWAYS be with me. I plan on continuing my education even if I have more children along the way. Nothing is Impossible!
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    This article brought tears to my eyes. This is an amazing story and I think you should go to schools and shelters to tell your story. Maybe you can encourage others to follow your path.
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    What an inspiring story that gives me some real hope for my daughter. None of us want our kids to be teenage parents but if it should happen we also do not want our kids to become statistics. My daughter was 15 when my granddaughter was born. She immediately wanted to drop out of school to get a job. We informed her that her job now was to stay in school and get good grades so she could take care of that Baby. She finished high school this past May with a 3.7 GPA and is now an Engineering major at Penn State! The baby is 3 and the light of our lives.
    I had a baby at 19 and had to drop out of college. I was 33 when I finally got my RN. Imagine what I could have done if I had parents who were supportive like the OP had!
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    RN-strong! Bless you for all your hard work and dedication.
  12. 0
    Very inspiring story!


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