Why I Became a Nurse: Discovering My Dream Job
This article will discuss my nursing story. I will discuss how I became a nurse, what type of work I did prior to nursing and how I combined my prior experience and discovered my dream job working in an ambulatory surgery center.
Why did you become a nurse? This is a common question that is asked of nurses. Here is my story of why I became a nurse and how I discovered my dream job.
In 1995, I attended an educational course sponsored by the Ophthalmic Nurses Society (ASORN). At the time I was a certified ophthalmic assistant which is similar to a medical assistant, assisting eye surgeons in a clinic setting. It was at this educational course, that I realized I wanted to be a nurse. It was the ophthalmology aspect of it that intrigued me. I also enjoyed working with patients. I am a people person. Soon after taking the educational course, I enrolled in my local junior college and took one class at a time while working full time and raising a family.
Ten years later, in 2005 I quit my job to attend college full time. I completed my prerequisites, transferred to the local State University and completed my BSN in Nursing. My original plan was to go straight into ophthalmology but after three years of school I realized that there was much to learn about the body and about nursing. It is said that a new nurse should work on med-surg for at least one year. Three and a half years later I was still at the bedside. I was fortunate to have had a telemetry unit position as my first job. There was a med-surg component mixed with some specialty (cardiac).
Six months ago, I felt as though change was going to occur soon. I didn't know what type of change but I felt that it was time to leave telemetry for something else. I asked friends how they liked ICU, ER, L&D, etc. Nothing sounded like the right fit. I was looking for my niche. Don't get me wrong, I would have been more than happy to work in any of these areas. I didn't need to leave telemetry but if I was going to leave I wanted it to be a place I really wanted to stay in. I am a planter. I don't like to hop from job to job. I like to plant myself somewhere and stay there.
Then one night as I was driving home from work, it was like a light bulb turned on above my head. Why not go back into ophthalmology? I had experience in this field. It was something I truly was fascinated with and enjoyed. I started researching different eye clinics and the ophthalmic nurses (ASORN) website to see what it is that ophthalmic nurses do. It seemed the main thing was working in surgery centers or Universities. The closest Universities that would have this set up are at least one or two hours away so this was out. I found a few local eye centers that had their own surgery suites. I walked into a few of these eye centers wearing business attire and resume in hand and asked if they hired ophthalmic RNs. I did not say I was an ophthalmic RN. I was honest and told of my pre-nursing ophthalmology background and my three and a half years of nursing bedside experience. The third surgery center I walked into was the one that hired me. Today I completed my first week as an OR circulating nurse for three eye surgeons, and a few other surgeons (ENT and Urology). And I love it!
My advice to those who are trying to find your niche in nursing: really do your research. Talk to other nurses in different fields of nursing. See what they like most (and least) about their fields of nursing. Ask a seasoned nurse you work with what type of nursing they think would fit with your personality. If you have a good seasoned nurse mentor they may have an idea where you might like to work. Another question is if you have any previous background that you can use to your advantage. Can you use anything from your past to market yourself positively? This is what I did. None of the places I went to had a "help wanted" sign or listing of employment. I just went with a prayer, a professional, confident attitude, my previous experience and resume in tow. And now I am working at my dream job. I feel like I have found my niche and I am home.Last edit by Joe V on Jun 16, '18
About nursefrances, BSN
OR circulator in an ambulatory surgery center. Previously worked as an RN for 3 1/2 years on a telemetry unit. I enjoy mentoring nursing students and new grad RNs. Prior experience as a certified opthalmic assistant and LASIK technician/assistant for 13 years.
Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 3,679; Likes: 5,746
RN in Ophthalmology ambulatory surgery center; from US
Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, TeleSep 1, '12Very inspiring! I really needed to hear this, as I am in nursing school. Thank you for sharing!Sep 1, '12I've had this secret wish to become an aesthetics nurse. Simply for the fact that the patients would actually be happy to see you approach them with a needle, and other assorted torture devices.Sep 1, '12Stories like this make me smile, and truly lighten up the at times bleak stories shared on AN. Thank you for sharing!Sep 4, '12Thankyou for sharing your experience. I just encountered my first RN position in an LTC and it didn't end well. Felt a bit hopeless leaving there, but after a day and reading many posts, I realize it just wasn't the place to start and I'll find my place eventually!Sep 4, '12Quote from Really new RNThat's the beauty of nursing, there are many other things you can do. Check out the specialties tab on the yellow bar at the top of the page. There are SO many different things we can do in nursing. I hope you find your niche. Good luck.Thankyou for sharing your experience. I just encountered my first RN position in an LTC and it didn't end well. Felt a bit hopeless leaving there, but after a day and reading many posts, I realize it just wasn't the place to start and I'll find my place eventually!Jun 13, '13I am quite late to this thread, but I thank you for sharing! I am an ophthalmic technician, currently deciding if I want to go to nursing school or surgical tech school (there are many extenuating circumstances), but I would LOVE to stay in ophthalmology. The facility we take our patients to for minor procedures also employs RNs for oculoplastics procedures and it is truly my dream job. I hope someday I can get there. Thanks for sharing!Jun 15, '13[QUOTE=catman88;7384367]I am quite late to this thread, but I thank you for sharing! I am an ophthalmic technician, currently deciding if I want to go to nursing school or surgical tech school (there are many extenuating circumstances), but I would LOVE to stay in ophthalmology. The facility we take our patients to for minor procedures also employs RNs for oculoplastics procedures and it is truly my dream job. I hope someday I can get there. Thanks for sharing![/
Where I work we use scrub techs for our surgery cases. RNs for pre-op and post op, and I will occasionally circulate. Have you visited the center you mentioned and spoken with anyone? Maybe they will let you shadow. Especially if any of the docs you work with do surgery there. Maybe your doc can get you in to shadow the staff so you can see what you like better. (Scrub tech or RN) And remember, if you get this chance, consider it your first interview. This is your first impression that they will see of you. Make it count.
It is a great advantage, I feel, to already have ophthalmology knowledge if you want to work in this type of surgery center. You are already a step ahead. Good luck to you.Last edit by nursefrances on Oct 17, '13Jun 15, '13Update from original article:
A few months after writing this article I was recruited by the first place I originally submitted my application. This first place was not hiring at the time I decided on my job change.
For the last 8 months I have worked at an ambulatory surgery center with 14 eye surgeons. All eyes, all the time. THIS is what I wanted. I love it.
It's been 17 years since I first attended that class that gave me the desire to become an "eye nurse" but I am finally here. My employers know know they can't get rid of me. I want to stay there until I retire in twenty years.