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What's your story? Why did you take up nursing?

Joe V Joe V (Admin) Columnist Innovator Expert

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development. Has 24 years experience.

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Everyone has his or her own story about how or why they became a nurse. What's your story?

Please be as detailed or as short as you wish. It'll be interesting to hear everyone's stories.

Well i have been a cna for a couple of years now,,, but I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I had my boy( 4 months ago) cause everyone on the L&D floor was sooooooooo very nice to me I knew I wanted to be a nurse so now I am in nursing school want to work on the L&D floor :)

Edited by Joe V

snowfreeze, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, CCU, Trauma, neuro, Geriatrics. Has 16 years experience.

I was going to be a veterinarian, but my parents got divorced and a lot of creepy things happened while I was a teen. I went to farrier school instead of Cornell. I still don't know if that was a bad choice but I was so burned out with life and wanted to do something else than what my now hated parents had lined up for me. I had already trained horses so I had lots of contacts to start my business. Well when I got out lots of people thought a 5'2"woman could not possibly know how to shoe a horse..lol. I got a part time job as a nurse aid.

My business thrived in my opinion, I paid my bills and had money to put in savings. I did a lot of barter work too, I had horses to feed and some of my customers could not pay for the foot work so we traded.

I got married and after a while found he wasn't the man I married, he had been laid off in the steel industry and was very bitter and angry. I could not even talk to him so I decided to go to nursing school after becoming a paramedic. I had some acute care experience, ran a working farm so knew some genetic stuff and had a few employees at times so learned to manage people. Put in a lot of time with cooperative extension service in my county as a 4-H leader, I helped develop and establish a school enrichment program for sciences in Pittsburgh PA.

I had 2 children at the time and he raped me during my first year of nursing school,( I was living in my daughters room at the time) and I became pregnant with my 3rd child during nursing school.

I finished my first year of school, had a c-section in august so had to take off a year until I could go back and get my associate degree.

I finished nursing school and heck I couldnt find a job, slow time for nursing.

I finally got a job at a city hospital ( they filmed part of 'silence of the lambs' on their loading dock...talk about scary....lol)

I worked in med-surg was in charge as a GN and then pissed off my manager and transferred to ICU/CCU. Two years there and off to specialty flight team for 6 years. I am now in LTC and love it for now. Spent some time in CCU and TRAUMA in between and have supervised a lot lately.

Oh yeh, I left him, took the kids when I graduated. I NOW make more than twice what he does. I feel good about who I am, he is still angry.


Specializes in Labor and Delivery, Med/Surg-tele. Has 6 years experience.

:icon_hug: Well, I'm a pre-nursing student but I thought I'd share my story...

I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher growing up. I loved kids and the idea of teaching in general. My mom became sick when I was in high school and had a couple close calls with death. I felt so powerless to help and saw nursing as my true call to help people (my mom). I became a CNA and got a job at a nearby hospital and worked on pre-req's at the university.

After about a year I became sick with an eating disorder. I spent 6 months in the hospital recovering from anorexia. While there, I bonded with some the the nurses who cared for me. They were so compassionate and caring. They took the time to listen to me and truely cared about my well being. I know that nursing is my calling. I have been out of the hospital for two months and am working on going back to school in the fall and I just got a new CNA job starting June 6. I want to pick myself up and recover and when I become a nurse, work with patients with eating disorders so I can provide the kind of care and support I recieved and offer hope for others struggling with eating disorders.:icon_hug:


I wish that there was an icon of a tear because I have a few in my eyes after reading your story! BEST OF LUCK TO YOU SWEETHEART!!!! You will make a wonderful nurse! Lasting peace to you ---- Dawn


Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

If I tell my story, a few of you ladies are going to be upset:

I was in the NAVY. When I went in, I decided that if I liked it, I'd stay, but if the only reason for staying was that I had nothing better to do, then it would be time to find something better to do.

Flash forward 2.5 yrs into a 4 yr hitch. I remember thinking, "I need to re-enlist so I can do another 2 yr OUTUS (outside cont. US) tour, but it's OK, I have nothing better to do. . ." And I can remember the alarms going off with that thought.

Went to career counselor's office and found an article about 'the best college bang for your buck is ADN program'. Didn't think much about it, but I told a friend of mine about it.

Flash forward 6 months - we're both back in the states, taking basic classes cause in my case, I didn't know what I want to be. My friend says to me, 'Hey, you remember that ADN program you were talking about, I applied and got accepted, you should too'. So I applied in Feb and was accepted 2 weeks later for fall (I had already taken soc/psych and several of the pre-reqs and the rest I could take in summer session and A&P I/II were co-reqs at that time).

Got out of the military Aug 28 and started Nsg school Sep 5, 1991.

Now the kicker - there was a 2 yr waiting list for the program but they accepted all male and minority applications that qualified first. No wonder the lady at the front office was always rude to me, how was I supposed to know that I kicked some white woman back a year because I applied on a lark?!

(If you had to wait till 1992 to start nursing school, and you were at the top of the alternate list, ummm, well, that was my fault. I wish I could say that I'm sorry, but the thing is, I'm not.)

Now for the rest of the story: I'm a believer. Things happen for a reason. When I see things line up in my life, I try not to question them! Learned that lesson a few times the hard way.

I'm good at what I do. I wouldn't say it's a calling, cause I was never really 'called'. But I was led to it. And the wonderful thing about nursing is I never have to wonder why I was led here: it's something I can see every day.


I'm good at what I do. I wouldn't say it's a calling, cause I was never really 'called'. But I was led to it.

If it hadn't been for a low-down, belly-crawling, *@%^!&^#...oops, sorry...jerk of a boss, I wouldn't have been laid off as his store manager, (about a week before I was due for a raise and vacation time) and I would have never applied for a job at the only place hiring in December...a nursing home. Once there and through the CNA training, if I hadn't had a brand new RN who thought I was good material for nursing school...I would still be cooking and cashiering and missing out on the best work I have ever done in my life.


:uhoh21: at 17 nearly 18 all I wanted to do was work for the Prison Dept. but they would not have me until I was 18 and that would take 3months in my family you don't stay at home after completing school and not work so my Mom suggested that I try nursing while I wait to turn 18, then I was 3months into my training and decided I will finish that first. At the end of my training I was given a chance to go and work in the OR and I am still there thanks to people like my Matron at the time Miss M Gray. Who was one of the most kind and hard working people I have ever known.:offtopic: She also was the creator of a bag used in the OR to keep the bowl warm and moist during Aortic Anuerisms called the Maggi bag in SA not sure if anyone knows or has heard of it. I always wanted to be able to know my department as well as she did. Well the department of Corrections (prison depart.) never saw me but I know my Mom was right.............. This is where I belong:nurse: :thankya:

Edited by Joe V

I wish that there was an icon of a tear because I have a few in my eyes after reading your story! BEST OF LUCK TO YOU SWEETHEART!!!! You will make a wonderful nurse! Lasting peace to you ---- Dawn

Dawn follow your dreams you can do it. God Bless

We all get wrapped up in our own problems and life but this week i come across one real meaning of wanting to be a nurse. Im not a poet and havent finished my poem but i would like to share with you a rough draft of one of my many experiences so far.

Skin cool, labored breath, so alone

No family here from the past

Waiting waiting for the last,

Someone talk to me, no one thinks i hear,

The nurse sits quietly holding hands to say

Lois i am near

The Lord is calling, no reason to be scared

Im here to see you off,

With dignity and care

My heart waves goodbye to you

Teary eyes of happiness

To know that you are there

I am a new Nursing Graduate from the Philippines. I was supposed to take the Nurse Licensure Examination in the Philippines last week but due to some requirement delays I was not able to join the said examination instead I would be taking the exam this December 2005. But anway, I would like to share some of my thoughts about this thread.

I am 25 years old, and in the Philippines at that age and as a fresh graduate seems to be old. Everyone would thing that you have been bad as a student that's why you were not able to graduate by the age 21 or you are a working student etc. I am a BS Computer Engineering graduate prior to earning a degree in nursing. After graduating high school, my dad didn't want me to take up nursing instead he wanted me to take up engineering. Such Parental intervention is common in our culture that most parents would tell you what course to take up in college. I followed his advice but I never tried looking for a job after graduating. While in the college of engineering, I always envy student nurses having their clinical rotations. I never found happiness and satisfaction in my course. That after graduation, though i have job offers, I never accepted them instead I went to a college of nursing seeking admission of which the dean has never doubted my capacity and interests. My dad had seen difference in me, I have been learning a lot in nursing rather than those things learned in Computer Engineering. I am so happy that last April 23, 2005, I finally marched during the graduation ceremony and got my Diploma for BS in Nursing degree and having my Nursing pin placed on my Nursing Uniform. It was indeed a good day for me and I am looking forward for the time that I'll be taking oath as a registered Nurses here in the Philippines and hopefully in the United States with God's Help!!!

donsterRN, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Cardiac Care. Has 10 years experience.

I will be starting nursing school this Fall at Deaconess in St. Louis. I have most of my gen eds out of the way (bio, chem, microbio), so I will be concentrating on my nursing classes. I had recently been hired for a job in the emergency department here at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, in preparation for my move to St. Louis. Initially, I had been planning on becoming a radiation therapist. But in working with the good people here in the E.D., I decided that I liked the role of the nurse better. I had already thought about becoming an RN several times before, but my parents didn't want me to because it isn't a "guy's field." But in seeing all the male nurses around the hospital, I no longer think it is an issue.

I am a registrar in the E.D. currently, but there is nothing more rewarding than covering a patient with warm blankets, helping someone down the corridor, or even just taking a minute to listen to what the patient has to say. And the nurses here say that there is nothing more rewarding than receiving a thank you card from a family who appreciated the care that was given to a patient. I can only imagine what it's like, but it'll become a reality for me soon enough.

And that's my story. :-)

One of my dearest friends, a male currently living in south Florida, graduated from your school back in the 80's. He speaks very highly of the education he received at Deaconess, and is a very busy (and sought after) hospice nurse. Much luck and success in your studies!

Would you believe it was because my parents would not allow me to remain, in California, when they moved back to NYS? I was offered a scholarship, for 62 credits, at a NYS DMH School of Nursing. The scholarship was towards 62 credits at a ocal university. I took it. I dropped out seven months before my graduation-that is another story. I got an LPN license on wavier, worked for 18 months, changed jobs, went to an associate program,graduated, went for a BSN. Then went on for a Masters in Hospital Administration. I have enjoyed working as a nurse and have had a varied career. I am currently going back to be an FNP, after being permanently disabled.

Grannynurse :balloons:


Specializes in A myriad of specialties.

What awesome stories! I've so enjoyed them! Mine? I've wanted to be a doctor since age 9. When I was 12, we lived out in the "boonies"; I went swimming one day with my brothers at a distant lake and while walking up on the boat landing, I cut my foot on a piece of broken beer bottle---a kind older nurse was nearby at the time. She immediately took my brothers and me in her car to our house and then helped to transport me or accompanied us to the hospital. I needed many stitiches. She made a lasting impression on me...but I still wanted to be a brain or heart surgeon--just didn't make good enough grades nor had the financial resources to pursue medical school. I have enjoyed a variety of jobs during 20 years of nursing but as an LPN have not been able to do what I'd truly love to do which is surgical nursing. And alas at age 46, I just don't have the financial resources, energy, or motivation to pursue the RN.

I don't have a really good story. I started college 4 years ago.. I had always intended on being a doctor, because I wanted to make my parents proud (I'm the first person in my entire extended family to ever attend and graduate from college!!) but I quickly realized that it wasn't what I wanted to do.. and they really could not have cared less than I didn't want to do it. They just wanted me to be happy! (duh..) I've always known I loved the health field, so I took my nursing pre-reqs, got accepted into my school's college of nursing.. and graduated in April! Took my NCLEX yesterday, and now it's all just crossing my fingers until I find out :uhoh21:

The long and the short of it is: the "dreamkillers" made me do it! :angryfire We're talking the early 60's here, right out of high school of course. I grew up in a family where you NEVER dared "question" the wisdom and counsel of dear old dad.

I knew I harbored this passion for writing ,but I was also smart enough to figure out that "dear ole dad" would never support me in terms of it becoming a "career" of any description. It was only after I had worked as a "candy striper" in the local hospital, and began hearing from significant adults around me that "you would make such a wonderful nurse"....it became a possibility in my own mind. Such feedback was not lost on my parents' ears either. It even filtered through to my high school guidance counselor's ears and he beat me over the head with the idea for two solid years.

Frankly, to shut everybody up (the dreamkillers) - I became a nurse. Have I loved it - you bet. Has it only enriched my passion for writing - you bet. Would I do it the same way again - NO! :rotfl:

And Brian.......where are you in Minnesota? I'm near St. Cloud.

Bonnie, Freelance Writer, retired from the frontlines of nursing

From the time I can remember I wanted to be a doctor. Then, in high school, having never even been in a hospital. I realized that I wanted to "take care" of people..

Nursing is an art. I think it is a calling. I love all of the aspects. I used to be so disgusted when a doctor would say to me "but you're so smart, you could be a doctor"...like I would rather do that than be a nurse. Doctors make big decisions and walk out of the room, they break terrible news and the nurse is there to help pick up the pieces. We are the ones who put it all together. If it wasn't for the nurses there would be no hospitals

Hey everyone. My name is Erin, I am 22y/o, an ADN student (got in last fall, audited due to personal/financial reasons, got back in for this fall...), lifelong NC native, etc. My reason for going into nursing is truly personal. I had ALWAYS known I wanted to go into healthcare (probably since about the age of five or thereabouts). I had ALWAYS had the dreams, aspirations, etc. of being a physician though. However, at the age of eight/nine I realized that since I struggled SOOO much with math, ALWAYS would, etc., I'd better change my thinking. LOL. So...I still kept it in the back of my mind as the years went on...anyway, my reason, furthermore, was because I wanted to "give back" to the medical profession for saving my life/taking care of me. I was born 10 weeks early @ 2#2oz., 10 1/4" long, had some of the common premie problems as well as one somewhat uncommon one (well, common mainly to the smaller premies). I had: As & Bs, exchange transfusions, seizures during my first 2 weeks of life, a Grade III IVH (intraventricular hemorrhage, aka: brain bleed)---that's the "uncommon" problem I was talking about, developed CP @ 2yrs., am deaf in my rt. ear, etc. Due to the IVH, I developed (subsequently) PHH (Post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus), was initially shunted at 5 wks., 2 days old with a subgaleal shunt, etc. I wound up having ten surgeries during my first seven years, and managed to go EIGHT weeks and TWO days shy of FIFTEEN years before having to have another shunt revision (#11) on 4/20, and I had (brace yourself) a Delta 1.5 medium pressure, occipital burr hole, non-programmable right sided VP shunt placed (whew! what a mouthful! LOL!). On May 10th I had another surgery to have my 14y/o shunt (just the ventricular, or proximal, catheter) removed *and* a left ICP monitor placed (for 3 days). On top of that, I was dx'd w/migraines the day before I was d/c. *SIGH* So...backing up into my high school days...I took health occupations education classes my 10th and 11th grade years (some of y'all may have heard of HOSA: Health Occupations Students of America, and even participated in the classes/club), went to competitions at all levels, placed at regional, state, and even national level (summer before my senior year: a knowledge test in pathophysiology, 3rd at state, 10th at national). Anyway, I had narrowed down my specialty to neonatal nursing (Level III) by my sophomore year when I found the neonatologist that cared for me (via the Internet), started corresponding via e-mail with him, agreed to meet/eat lunch/tour the NICU, etc. and on December 28, 1999, I met him (Dr. Ernest Kraybill, now retired, since 2000) at UNC Hospitals (which was before they built the new Women's and Children's Hospitals which were dedicated September 8, 2001). I also met some nurses, and again, was able to tour the NICU July 13, 2001 with the nurse manager (Maura Williams), who ironically enough had been one of my primary nurses when I was there), and got to shadow a couple of nurses (staff as well as NNPs, because that's what I had intended to do) for a few hours. Anyway, I am still fascinated/interested in premies, NICU nursing, etc., but have shifted my focus/specialty from that into neuroscience nursing b/c of my recent hospitalizations. One thing I had worried about when I had set my sights on NICU nursing was becoming too involved/my personal experience(s) and how that would tie into everything, but everyone assured me that this wouldn't hinder me in any way; it would actually help b/c I have a certain perspective that no one else does. I hope to be able to do neurology/neurosurgery (floor) nursing. I also like the idea of maybe NSICU nursing, as well as neurosurgery clinic nursing, OR...heck, anything that deals with neurosurgery. LOL. Sheesh. However, I REALLY am leaning towards floor nursing...I TRULY enjoyed the nurses, NAs, doctors, EVERYONE on the floor during my hospitalizations, got to know them, etc. and they're all a GREAT group! I'm fond of quite a few of them, some just a tad bit more (there are two guys that are HILARIOUS together). Anyway, that's *my* story! Thanks for listening, and sorry this is long! LOL!


P.S. I guess I should add that my Dad having had MULTIPLE health problems also factors a little into my decision as well: he'd had metastatic kidney cancer w/mets. to lungs and bones., with prosthetic right elbow joint; NIDDM, HTN, chronic sinus problems which he'd never had until NG tube removal re: the RCC, diabetic complications, etc. He passed away 10/3/03 due to an anoxic brain injury (went w/o O2 for ten minutes) which was d/t cardiac arrest and *that* was d/t ARF. He also had other problems that we never knew about (but looking back, I'm not surprised) until we had a partial autopsy requested b/c we wanted answers (i.e. he had atherosclerosis, BPH, etc.).

I am not even a nursing student yet but I want to become a nurse because I have a genetic disorder, Neurofibromatosis, and have been hospitalized multipal times for surgeries. Well, my nurses have always been awsome to me, even haveing them pretend that they understood what you are going through is helpful. Like once, I was five and I had just had surgery a day or two before and I needed a blood test. I was not letting the tech anywhere near me. The nurse told me she had needed blood drawn and that she had had this certian tech do it for her because he was very good. I let him take it.

I was in my back yard one evening with a nice fat possum on the grill. I heard a noise and looked up to see a spacecraft directly above me. In an instant, I was transported into a dimly lit area equipped with strange equipment. Then a 3 ft tall being with a single eye in the center of his neck...or what I though was a neck, kicked me in the shins. As I jerked my leg up out of the way, several of the little critters pushed me back on an exam table. The next few hours were a blur as I went in and out of consciousness. Before I knew what was happening I was graduating from nursing school. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

They got to you, too? I thought it was just me! :rotfl: