Today someone told me something that changed everything.

Nurses General Nursing


Today someone told me something about themselves that was so powerful that it changed everything for me.

Today, I was in class and I was talking to another student (we'll call her H) about how I went into nursing because I never wanted to temp again. She said that Nursing was the best thing that happened to her, since her life was nothing before it.

I told her that i'm sure her life was something before entering a Nursing Program that felt like Legalized torture.

It was then that she turned to me and said that what she went through now was nothing compared to how she got there.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I was homeless." She said.

I asked her what she meant. I naively thought that she was too clean or well spoken to have been in that situation.

She then began to tell me her (abbreviated) story.

When she was 12, her father had left her and her mother for another woman he worked with. The mother had never finished high school after having gotten pregnant and therefore never worked a very lucrative job before. After her father left, she got a job as a waitress in a hotel but they couldn't pay the mortgage and ended up living out of their car. Well, then they ended up in a garage apartment and her mother pushed her to do well in school. She told me that they didn't watch TV or even use that many lights, so they could keep the bills down.

When she was 15, she was coming off the bus when the police got her attention and informed her that her mother had had an overdose of speed. (something she took to work her now three jobs.) She then was forced into foster care where she was repeatedly physically and sexually attacked in a group home. After running away, she ended up squatting in abandoned buildings and panhandling or stealing for any bit of money or food she could manage for the next two years.

When she was 17, she told me that she was so hungry that she waited in an alley known for prostitutes and decided to try it. On her first time being approached by a man, he ended up being a police officer and brought her in.

She was represented by a public defender and with her personal history being reviewed, she was charged with public indecency and panhandling and was sentenced to probation. It was then that Social services got involved and she was sent to a woman that "specialized" in troubled women.

It was then that she turned it around. The woman that took her in was in her words "God herself", after some troubles adjusting, the woman got her into an adult education program, got her to get her GED and gave her a safe place to live. It was then that she started at the very bottom at a local community college and clawed her way into the Nursing program.

She is one of the most well spoken, intelligent women I have ever had the privilege to meet and when things get too hard, or the day gets too dark, I'll think of her courage and I'll smile.

(Posted with her permission)

I once worked with a nurse who was homeless either just before or while she was in nursing school and I've lived in my car myself. I know someone who moved into a homeless shelter with her two kids while she was in nursing school. Not that atypical. Most don't bring up the subject very often though. After all, why would a nurse or nurse to be ever be in that kind of a predicament? It doesn't fit the picture of nursing that the Johnson and Johnson commercials would lead the public to believe.

Specializes in LTC, SICU,RNICU.

I think these strong ladies will make wonderful nurses. They will be able to have compassion for the harder to deal with patients. Kudos to these women and I pray that they will continue to have productive and happy lives.

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

To ray for her; sounds like someone I would want on my side but be careful; nursing politics and all. It is exemplary that she was able to overcome the horror of her past but please advise this women to keep it close to the vest for now. Finish school, get the degree and then.............

It is nothing to be ashamed of; she should be proud of being able to overcome such obstacles but all I'm saying is the past can come back to bite you before you're prepared. I knew a nursing student who was a recovering heroine addict and told everyone. I really never thought anything about it. I was so shocked when suddenly she was kicked out of the program; the rumor was she was using again.

I don't think she was using. I know this certain group of "girls" set her up; spread ugly rumors that took flight and she was gone. In hind site is where I see how these 4 girls drooled over her asking her all kinds of questions about the street etc... She wanted friends and talked with them. I don't know what happened to that girl but I do know it was because some people have nothing better to do but gossip and spread lies. The only solace I receive with this is knowing Karma does exist.

Sounds like a great friendship.

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Her story is very inspirational and I too was inspired by a classmate who worked very hard to leave an abusive marriage with her young child, battled alcoholism and severe depression. She went on to graduate with honors. She said that if she could get through all that she had that there was nothing that would stop her, and that she wanted to ensure that her child would never have to go through the nightmare she did. If you speak to many of the older students, there are usually many inspirational stories. :nurse:

Specializes in Geriatrics.

That is an inspirational story :) I do agree with the other posts that she should be cautious about revealing too much about her past. In someones mean, spiteful hands it could harm the very thing shes working so hard for. I wish you both the best of luck.:)

thanks for sharing this.

wishing the two of you lots of luck in your classes.

Specializes in PP, Pediatrics, Home Health.

This is an absolutely beautiful story!

Thanks for sharing that..just what I needed to read this morning as I struggle to start my morning homework.

I agree that she should keep it close to the vest and I realize that she told me and only me in confidence. It was just such a beautiful story that I wanted to share it somehow and I thought that posting under anonymity was the safest option, to which she readily agreed.

I can't explain how powerful this story was and as I read what I wrote, I realize that it doesn't do it justice. The entire conversation took about an hour, but even the day after, i'm still shaken to the core. It really puts things in perspective and certain things just don't matter anymore. When I left that conversation, it was like the day was different. I was different.

Specializes in LTC.

I was too homeless prior to becoming a nurse. It has definitely made me a stronger person. I appreciate having a job as a nurse so much.

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg.

Sounds lie the kind of person that any of us would love to work with. She is a true inspiration to others. She should write a book.

+ Add a Comment