Brand New Nurse: A Graduate Nurse Tells Her Story

Luisa Carvajal, is a GN. As she prepares to start her first job, she took a few minutes to discuss her personal story and her aspirations in nursing. Nurses General Nursing Interview

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Brand New Nurse: A Graduate Nurse Tells Her Story

Spending time with Luisa Carvajal, GN, was a real treat. She job shadowed me for the day to learn what Faith Community Nurses do. In the course of the day, we talked about her plans, her new job, her hopes and her concerns.

Q: As you start your career, what would you like to say to all other nurses?

A: We all had to start here. At some point we were all a Student Nurse and a Graduate Nurse. I know it’s tough to be patient. I know it has to be difficult but you also had to learn. I hope you are ready to put life into the next generation of nursing, to invest in us. Every day is what we make it together. I know that we have frustrations. Our patients are at their most vulnerable. We focus on the best parts as well as we can. Indeed we are messing with people’s lives. They will reciprocate the attitudes they see in us.

Q: What made you want to go into nursing?

A: A big reason was my grandmother who died from pancreatic cancer when I was in middle school. Because I had to help serve as translator for my family, I had to ask more questions so I could explain it and by doing that I got very interested in medicine in general and in nursing in particular. That was the big reason. I really just wanted to make a difference in patients’ lives just like the nurses made in my life. I also felt like God was calling me into nursing with my personality and the gifts he has given me. Not too long ago I came across an essay that I wrote for a ninth grade assignment. In it, I talked about going to ETSU the college that I graduate from!

Q: You are from the country of Columbia. How did your family get here?

A: We were able to do it the legal way, by getting a sponsor and visas through my grandmother’s citizenship. My mother and my two brothers all came. I was very young when I came. I started pre-school here and became a citizen while young. My mother worked all the time while I was little—several jobs. My grandmother was the one that took care of me. It was very hard—still is very hard— to lose her. Her illness made me want to be a nurse so I could take care of others the way those nurses took care of my grandmother and of me.

Q: What frustrations do you anticipate as you start out in nursing?

A: I guess the hardest thing is the biases that come with patients. By that I mean when people call the patient by their diagnosis not their name. I see things in practice that are not the way we are trained or the way we learn to do things. We can become jaded, tired and I understand but there is so much more to people than a diagnosis or a label. I hope I can keep my perspective and try hard to see patients as people who need help and not just a diagnosis. That’s a hard thing for me.

Q: What do you really love about nursing at this point?

A: I love the patient interaction. Our patients are at their most vulnerable time and we are the people that they can depend on; we can be the shoulder they cry on; someone they can turn to. I enjoy being with the patients and being able to do something, to help. Sometimes that means just listening and letting them vent. I also love all the opportunities that we have as nurses. With a BSN we can do so much! This is one of those fields where you are never completely “stuck.” We have so many options: there is inpatient, administration, community, even policy. In fact, I got to go to Washington, D.C. recently!

Q: What did you do in Washington?

A: I got to talk with our representatives. We went as part of the advocacy for Title VIII with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Our school sends faculty and one or two students each year to inform our senators and representatives of the importance of continuing to fund Title VIII which helps nurses who want to further their education. It provides for Nursing Education Loan Repayment and Nursing Scholarship Programs. We were also asking our representatives and senators to consider increasing funding for NIH research for nurses. I was there for 3 days and was privileged to meet with Senator Lamar Alexander, with an aide for Senator Marsha Blackburn and Representative Roe. It opened my eyes to a whole new field of nursing! Who knew?

Q: You seem to have such a bubbly, happy spirit. What is your goal as you start your career?

A: My goal is to go in every day with a smile. I appreciate being able to have this career and I am excited to start my new job.

Nurses: welcome your new colleague!


Joy is a Faith Community Nurse. She enjoys playing with her grandkids, cooking for crowds and taking long walks.

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