I started back to school when my kids were little; I knew that I would not be able to stay home with them forever. My BA in English, non teachng, wasn't going to go far in this community, so when I learned that the local community college offered an Associates Degree in Respiratory Therapy, I was IN!
In my first class, Medical Terminology, one of my classmates, with a BS in biology, shared she was getting pre-requisites so she could apply to the nursing program at a nearby university. With a 4 year degree already, only the nursing courses were required to earn a BSN. Same amount of time and a BSN--I was IN!
With no medical experience of any kind, I took an EMT class to make sure that I wouldn't faint at the sight of blood. The class required two observation shifts in the ED. Love at first sight! When I learned that I could volunteer while I was in nursing school, I was IN!
750+ hours of volunteering got me an interview for a summer nursing intern position on the Surgical unit. My ED work clinched the job. That led to a part-time position as a nurse's aide during my senior year of nursing school. When I graduated, summa cum laude, during a nursing glut, this connection got me a part-time nursing position at my hospital, and the rest is history.
What nursing has given to me: a chance to grow, to connect with the human race in a way that very few people ever experience. Now that I work in IT, I am constantly asked if I miss nursing. Well, once a nurse, always a nurse. I miss patient and family contact, but I don't miss the grueling hours or the politics of the floor. As an IT Systems Analyst, I can explain to my fellow IT folks why the clinical world may seem to make unreasonable demands. In turn, I can explain to clinical folks that what they are asking for is often beyond the capabilities of any IT system. Instead of being the vector between the physican and the patient, I am positioned between IT and clinicians.
A better question might be, "Why am I glad I am a nurse?" Just identifying myself as a nurse to someone in need offers me a chance to offer assistance in a non-threatening way. Nursing helps me to meet people where they are at, experience their lives. They might need assistance, or maybe they just need to be heard. I learn something new every day--and most often it is something about myself.