My mom always said I was born to be a nurse. Maybe it was the nursing outfit I used to wear as a child – complete with hat and cape (it was even my Halloween costume one year). Or maybe it was because I had a Nurse Nancy doll complete with bed and thermometer that I used to take care of. Whatever the reason, becoming a nurse has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and has led to a wonderfully fulfilling and challenging career.  But there was a time when I was close to choosing a different path.

HCA_JaneGradBack in my college days – you know, a couple of years ago – I was looking for a more challenging and interesting major.  I had done some volunteer work with special education children and decided I wanted to work with them as a physical therapist.  When I met with my adviser I learned the university didn’t offer physical therapy. Initially, I was disappointed but then they referred me to the nursing program. I met with an adviser from that program and something just clicked for me. I was recruited into nursing and stayed!

Guidance counselors tell high school students today to expect two to four significant career changes over the span of their working life.  I’ve had five, all within nursing!  I have been a critical care nurse, a rehabilitation nurse, a nurse educator, and nursing manager.  And now, I am in a corporate nursing executive role.  I’ve had a variety of challenges to keep me stimulated and fresh, without having to change professions or even employers!

If you’re a nurse, then you know you’re part of a special group. Nurses Week is a great time to reflect on your career; the things you love and the things you’re not so crazy about.  As you accept well-deserved recognition and appreciation this week, I encourage you to pause. Make a list of all the good things your career has brought you. Think about all the people you’ve been able to help. Few people get to experience the joy and fulfillment that nursing brings. Thank you for all that you do.

Happy Nurses Week!