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What Nursing Means to Me

National Nurses Week, International Nurses Day

What Nursing Means to Me


As this year’s National Nurses Week approaches, I’m reflecting on one of the best decisions of my life – becoming a nurse!


I graduated from college in 2008 with a degree in Religious Studies. It was the height of the Great Recession, and no one was hiring. Throughout college, I had hoped to use my Religious Studies degree to work for a non-profit, yet I found myself that summer of 2008 applying and interviewing for just about any position, whether it applied to my degree or not.   Fortunately, I landed two part time jobs working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school and working as a residence life coordinator for a college.  I was grateful for the opportunities but still longed for more from my career and didn’t feel professionally fulfilled.


During those years, a small voice in the back of mind kept nudging me toward nursing.  Nursing had everything I was looking for – a career helping others, job security, growth potential, yet I had a lot of doubts and fears about becoming a nurse. I was nervous to go back to school and worried that this humanities graduate would flounder in science-heavy courses. No one in my family had any medical background, and I certainly worried about “breaking the mold” and being the first in my family to pursue a medical profession.


Despite my fears and reservations, I took the plunge and started nursing school, and thank goodness I did! At that time, I lived an hour away from the nursing school I attended and spent many hours driving back and forth from school and clinicals.   I used to record myself reading notes from nursing classes and would listen to them during those long drives.   Every waking minute, and probably even my dreams, were devoted to nursing school.  Those were challenging days. Between the rigors of nursing school, long drives, and working as a CNA on the weekends, I had days when I felt like I just wouldn’t hack it as a nurse.  Still, that same small voice that told me to start nursing school, told me to finish it.


Completing my nursing degree remains one of the proudest moments of my life.  The feeling of accomplishment I received during my capping and pinning ceremonies outweighed anything I had accomplished previously.  I still sometimes look to my cap, now displayed in my home office, as a reminder of where I started and the great sense of pride and honor I feel as a nurse.


Soon after graduating nursing school, I started my first nursing job working nights on an inpatient oncology unit. I felt an immediate connection and kinship with the nurses on the floor, and to this day, I keep in touch with my original nurse preceptor, a.k.a. my “nurse mom,” who truly taught me how to be a nurse and paved the way for my career.  I believe early experiences can make or break a young nurse, and I am grateful to have had strong nursing mentors and positive early nursing experiences.  I fell in love with the profession thanks to those mentors and patients.


In the years since becoming a nurse, I’ve learned and been amazed by the multitude of nursing opportunities that exist. There are so many ways to be a nurse! I remember a nursing professor once telling a classroom full of us eager student nurses to keep trying different specialties and settings until we found the nursing niche we loved.   This has been so true! I love that there are so many different paths one can take in nursing, and the opportunities are boundless.


I truly feel lucky and feel that choosing nursing has been a winning lottery ticket of sorts. Nursing pulled me out of unsteady economic times and has continually given me opportunities to grow personally and professionally.  I’m still on the younger side of my nursing career and am so grateful to have found a profession that, not only do I love and find rewarding, but can foresee a long and sustainable future.


Happy Nurses Week to all the nurses out there fulfilling all the many ways to be a nurse!


MCN Healthcare content writer








Alison Rogers, RN, BSN

MCN Healthcare Content Writer


Additional MCN Blogs:

MCN Blog:  The Nurse that I am Today




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