1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN, EDITOR

Article Content

I suppose things happen when they're supposed to happen. We may want things to happen at a particular time, but I keep learning over and over again that everything happens in its own time. During their childhoods, I started talking to my daughters about how great nursing is, and what a worthwhile profession it would be for them. Neither of them took the bait. I didn't push. I tried to be a caring parent who appreciated my children's choices, but I was really disappointed that neither of them thought that nursing was the right profession for them. "Oh well," I thought, "a new generation that thinks differently." They chose noble professions (social work and teaching), and were happy. Case closed.



Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Fast forward to 2001. My daughter Carrie is an elementary school teacher, happily married, but coping with infertility treatments. During the course of her treatments she came into contact with nurse specialists (in the infertility office) who cared for her, taught her, cried with her, and encouraged her. One day, completely unexpectedly, she said to me, "You know, I think I would have made a good nurse. Maybe I should change professions." A thunderbolt from the blue! Naturally I encouraged her to consider doing just that, but I didn't think it would actually happen. Without me knowing it, however, she was a young woman on a mission. She immediately started investigating programs for people who already had degrees in other fields, decided to apply to a nursing program in her community, and registered for the prerequisite courses that same week! She had been out of college for 6 years, but threw herself into this new challenge with all her energy. All this while she was, at last, pregnant. Carrie proceeded to do what so many other young motivated people do: she completed the chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy/physiology courses, and simultaneously applied to nursing school. Her choice was Stony Brook University, NY. Happily, Carrie was accepted at Stony Brook, and last year began their accelerated, intensive program. It has been such an incredible experience for her and, therefore, for me. Her excellent instructors have taught her to look for evidence, read research, and to always put the patient first. In her very first week of clinical experiences she called me to tell me about her post-op surgical patient: she came upon him in great pain, just having had an extensive dressing change by the surgeon, without the needed administration of pain medication before the procedure, and without any nurse present. The patient was a mess, the room was a mess, and there was no surgeon to be seen. "Wow, mom," she said, "the doctor seemed to be focused only on getting the dressing changed, but the staff nurse was so worried about the patient. She called the doctor and complained that he hadn't told anyone he was ready to do the procedure so they could medicate the patient first. Nurses seem to have the whole patient in mind." I was amazed-she saw the doctor/nurse dichotomy so clearly-and on her first clinical week! I'm sure all of us know these differences intimately. We see ourselves as the advocate for the patient, but few outside our profession understand it. Carrie "got it," and now knows for sure that nursing is for her.


What a great experience all of this has been for her! Her instructors at Stony Brook have been wonderful, and her learning experiences both in the classroom and in the clinical settings have been outstanding. Well, I am very proud to announce that Carrie graduates this month (May, 2003) with a BSN! I've been talking about the nursing shortage for years now, and finally I have done something personal about the nursing shortage-I've contributed my own daughter! I couldn't possibly be prouder of Carrie and all she has accomplished. She represents the new generation of well-educated nurses who will be there to care for those of us who need their help in the future. Life is interesting and forever changing. I didn't think I'd ever see one of my children become a nurse, but everything happens when it is supposed to happen. Carrie, the nurse, is happening now!