This is a third draft, and still very rough and very long. Help, please? The prompt is "my motivations for becoming a nurse."
"My motivations for becoming a nurse are complicated. I hope the following narrative explains better than a simple laundry-list.
"2012 was extremely challenging. A workplace accident left me with a lot of time to think about where I was in life, and how far that was from where I wanted to be. I came to accept a difficult truth: although making bread was deeply fulfilling, it wasn't exactly a career. I teased out the qualities I loved best: being challenged physically and mentally; feeling like i'd done something real and and concrete and good each and every day; the sense of nurturing that comes of providing a basic human need, and the privilege of getting to look the recipient in the eye; the quiet joy of doing these things as a team.
"I also worked out the abilities I could bring to a new career: to arrive for a 4:30 AM shift on time, clear-headed, and ready to dive into things, no matter how I might feel or what might be going on at home; to coordinate, prioritize, and organize many multi-step tasks, reacting to new circumstances on the fly; to work hard, and long, and maintain focus after nine hours on my feet.
"Nursing might seem an obvious choice, but I was afraid to try. I'd considered health care in high school, but my father told me girls couldn't learn the maths and sciences; a few years out of college, an ex insisted i wasn't strong enough to do "real" work. A glance at my work and educational history shows how preposterous this was, but i believed it. A lifetime of marginal -- or non-existent -- health insurance made nursing seem more inaccessible: surely someone who couldn't afford to go to a hospital could never actually work in one.
"Six months later, my husband had his own on-the-job injury. Aspects of the surgery and hospital stay were nightmarish, but his day nurse was amazing. Her kindness, her poise, and her gentle firmness about the realities of the situation were inspiring. I finally admitted to myself her job was what I wanted to do.
"I am only one person, and have no illusions of "fixing the system." Furthermore, I know how quickly things change, and have not built pipedreams around my next thirty years in nursing. I have achieved my short-term goal, though: I am back in the classroom, loving the maths and sciences I avoided when I was younger. My interim goals are: to find work caring for other Philadelphians in a local hospital within three to five years, and to spend the next three to five years learning everything that hospital and those patients have to teach me. My long-term goal is to be open enough, and brave enough, to follow wherever that teaching leads: from where I stand, I can see a dozen different paths I might follow. This essay is one step on the journey; Jefferson APW could be the next. I know I can excel; all I need is a chance to try. "