As a nurse, people occasionally ask why I chose this profession. To be quite honest, nursing was chosen for me as a young child. As long as I can remember, I new I would become a nurse because my parents told me that I will become a nurse and then I can chose to go into any other field. I don't think that nursing being chosen for me is nearly as important as my own decision to stay in nursing and to continue to graduate education.
The first seed was planted by my maternal aunt, Henrietta. She was the oldest of twelve children, and was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and parish school. Thanks to the generosity of the nuns of the parish, Henrietta was able to go to a nursing school at Catholic hospital. After Aunt Henny graduated, she decided to go into the Army. Little did she know that she was setting an example for three out of four brothers to go into the military. Her brother, Thomas, honored his eldest sibling by going into the Air Force after graduating from nursing school. He eventually became a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Also, Henny had five sisters who decided to follow her footsteps and completed various levels of nursing education. Two of her sisters, Margaret and Cecelia also became CRNAs and spent many years working together in the same hospital in Washington, D.C.
This first generation of nurses was just a start. My mother, Ann, was among them. An observation that my parents discretely made was that the family members and friends who were nurses were always employed, had stable income, owned homes (or at least sooner than others). My father often said "You can write your own ticket!" and "I wish I was a nurse." Dad never went to nursing school, but he was the biggest recruiter. He encouraged several of his close friends and their wives to become nurses. When we were old enough, he insisted that my sisters and I become nurses. Now three out of five sisters have masters in nursing. I'm an adult NP, one sister is a CRNA, and another recently earned NP certification. It didn't stop with our generation. At a recent family gathering, I found three nurses among the grandchildren of my mother's siblings.
Like my family members, I learned quickly that nursing had many opportunities for advancement, a variety of specialties, and flexibilty for going to school and raising a family. After completing an associate degree in nursing, I applied to various colleges and was accepted to a teaching program, a cytogenetic technology program, and two B.S.N. programs. The choice was clear to me. I love the profession, my co-workers, and my patients. Nursing it is!