Nursing Jobs

Nursing as a second career: older nurses prove it’s never too late

Posted in Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing School

Alberta Hunter in her nurse uniform at Goldwater Memorial Hospital before her retirement in 1977

Alberta Hunter in her nurse uniform at Goldwater Memorial Hospital before her retirement in 1977

In 1955, blues and jazz legend Alberta Hunter decided to begin a second career as a nurse after reaching the pinnacle of a music and theater career spanning more than 4 decades.  Yet, she was turned down when she first applied to the School of Practical Nursing at the Young Women’s Christian Association branch in Harlem.   The director of the school told her that she was simply too old to become a nurse.  Undaunted, she applied again, this time with a fake birth certificate and high school diploma that understated her actual age by 12 years.   She then graduated from the YWCA LPN program in August 1956 and went on to work as a nurse at Goldwater Memorial Hospital in New York until she was forced by the hospital to retire in 1977 at age 82 (although the hospital staff actually thought she was 70).  By all accounts, she was an excellent nurse who was adored by her patients and coworkers and whom, during her 20 years at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, never missed a single day of work or was ever late to a shift.

These days, older nurses and nursing students have it much easier than Ms. Hunter.  While ageism and age discrimination is still as much of a problem in the nursing field as it is in other fields, it has clearly declined and older nurses and nursing students can expect a much more welcoming environment and workplace than they could have 60 years ago.

Operating room nurse Annell

Operating room nurse Annell

Annell Farris, the most recent winner of the Nursing Jobs Nurse Photo Contest, was 59 years old in 2008 when she graduated from the School of Nursing at John Hopkins University and began working as an operating room nurse.

In a recent Youtube video, Nurse Awesome outlined some of the advantages of being an older nursing student.

Nursing Job Outlook in 2014

Posted in Nursing Jobs, Nursing News

Smiling Nurse With Thumbs Up PosingAs 2013 began, some experts declared that not only was the nursing shortage over but that it was a “myth” (See our February 2013 article: “Is the nursing shortage a myth?“) and a number of news outlets began reporting on just how difficult it was becoming for new nursing school graduates to find a job. However, as we enter 2014, it is clear that there is still a shortage of experienced nurses in some regions, that the demand for nurses will continue to rise and that new nurse graduates still have a much better chance of finding a job than new graduates in other fields.

An August 2013 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that the average job offer rate at the time of graduation was 59% for BSN graduates and 67% for MSN graduates. The survey also found that within 4 to 6 months of graduation, 89% of BSN graduates and 90% of MSN graduates had job offers. In comparison, a similar survey, by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, of graduates in other fields found that only 29.3% had a job offer at the time of graduation. This indicates new nurse graduates still have a much better chance of finding employment than those in other fields. The survey also indicated that there were significant regional variations in new nursing school graduate employment rates within 4 to 6 months of graduation:

The job offer rate for BSN graduates did vary by region, from 82% in the North Atlantic to and the West to 90% in the Midwest to 93% in the South. For entry-level MSN program graduates, the job offer rate at 4-6 months post-graduation ranged from 80% in the West to 87% in the North Atlantic to 94% in the Midwest to 96% in the South.

Source: 2013 Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses, AACN.

There are other reasons to believe that the nursing shortage is not over yet and will continue for some time.
A recent survey by AMN Healthcare found that there is a 17% vacancy rate for nurses in hospitals in the United States and that 66% of hospital executives believe there is a shortage of nurses.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare) is also projected to significantly increase nurse employment and the number of open nursing jobs as millions of previously uninsured Americans gain access to health insurance coverage in 2014. The demand for nurse practitioners is projected to increase as healthcare organizations seek to alleviate a shortage of physicians and primary care providers by switching to new models of primary care where nurse practitioners and advanced practice registered nurses will assume an expanded role in providing healthcare. As the nursing job market continues to evolve, it is clear that nurses will need at least a BSN to remain competitive and that nurses with advanced post-graduate training such as an MSN degree will have an even greater competitive advantage in the nursing job market.

Living and Working as a Nurse in Houston

Posted in Nursing Jobs

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Photographer: Wikimedia Commons/Zereshk)

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Photographer: Zereshk)

Home of NASA’s Mission Control Center, Houston is also home to some of the best hospitals in the country. Some of the best nursing jobs in Houston can be found at the Methodist Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial-Hermann Texas Medical Center and TIRR Memorial Hermann, which are all well-rated by  US News and World Report, and all have high-ranking specialties.

Many Houston nursing jobs are in hospitals located on Portsmouth Street, including Bayou Medical Center, or Fannin Street, where the Women’s Hospital of Texas is located. The Shriners’ Hospital for Children and Kindred Hospital Medical Center are also located on Fannin.

Nurses working in the Houston area have salaries that are moderate as the cost of living is also somewhat middle of the road.  Staff RNs average about $66,000 per annum. Licensed practical nurses average just under $42,000 per year, with CNAs averaging just under $29,000 in annual pay. All figures are from Salary.Com for 2012.

For travel nurses visiting the city, there are all sorts of places of interest to see and experience, from the Johnson Space Center to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Theater District and the Aquarium. Plus, there’s the Mahatma Gandhi District, the Houston Zoo and the Houston Arboretum. Sports enthusiasts will surely enjoy watching the Astros, the Rockets, and the Texans, and a pilgrimage to the Astrodome is also in order. History buffs will have fun checking out the Clayton Library and the Sam Houston Hotel, or strolling around the Fifth Ward’s Frenchtown – or taking a trip west to see the San Jacinto Battleground in La Porte, which is about a half an hour away.

Houston night skyline (Photographer: eflon on Flickr)

Houston night skyline (Photographer: eflon)

Whether residing in Houston or visiting as a travel nurse, getting around is not too bad, as the center of the city is laid out in a grid. Interstate 45 (also known as the Gulf Freeway) cuts through and then skirts the city to the west, and then it arcs around to the north. Route 610 makes a ring around the city and then another ring, Route 8 (Beltway 8), goes around that. Route 59 proceeds from the southwest to the northeast. It eventually intersects with Interstate 10.

Houston travel nursing jobs are often in the Fannin Street area, which is to the southwest. That area is near Route 59 and Route 288.

Another popular transportation option in Houston is the comprehensive public transportation system. METRO (the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County) consists of buses and regional rail. The Red Line travels from Fannin Street South to the University of Houston Downtown stop.

Housing is more expensive the closer you get to the center of things. Prices can be very high in affluent bedroom areas such as Washington Avenue and the Allen Parkway area. Prices are a bit lower outside of the city, in areas such as Tomball and Jersey Village. According to Trulia, the market is on the rise, but overall sales seem to be decreasing in early 2013. Apartment living can be in modern townhouses or developments.

Educational opportunities are plentiful, as Houston is home to a concentration of great colleges and universities. Nursing programs are available at (among others) the Houston Baptist University, Prairie View A & M and Texas Women’s University. All of these schools can improve the experience of nursing in Texas.

Houston – it’s an impressive global city. Got any more insights into living and working in Houston? Let us know in the comments section!

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Is the nursing shortage a myth?

Posted in Nursing Jobs

A recent press release by a nursing education and career portal claims that a survey indicating that 62% of newly graduated nurses have difficulty finding a job is evidence that the nursing shortage is a myth.

“The so called nursing shortage is really a myth”, said Cathy Miller, Director of Education for “The idea that we as a country are experiencing a drastic shortage in nurses is not really correct. Most nursing jobs now specifically state they are not interested in non-experienced nurses.”

There is no question that it is harder for new graduates with no experience to find a nursing job.  In January 2013, CNN reported on how difficult it is for many newly graduated nurses to find employment.  However, this does not indicate that the nursing shortage is a myth.  There may not be a shortage of new graduates of nursing programs but there is a very real shortage of experienced nurses.  New graduates can increase their chances of landing a job by getting additional certifications, gaining experience by participating in internship and preceptorship programs and being willing to relocate to areas where there is a higher demand for their services and more employers willing to hire new nurses.   While it may take longer, newly graduated nurses who are persistent will eventually find a job.

Labor statistics indicate that the nursing shortage is indeed very real and not a myth.  A recent press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the healthcare sector added 23,000 jobs in January 2013 and 320,000 jobs in 2012.  This is significant increase over the 296,900 healthcare sector jobs added in 2011.  Most of those jobs are for nurses and there are many more jobs that are going unfilled due to a shortage of experienced nurses.  As the economy recovers, nurses retire, the U.S. population ages and tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans gain health care insurance in 2014 when certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, health care spending will increase significantly and the demand for nurses and nurse practitioners will continue to increase and remain strong.

It is clear that filling this growing demand will require hundred of thousands of new nurses over the next few years.  It is also clear that nursing schools and healthcare employers need to provide more opportunities for nursing school students and new graduates to get clinical on-the-job training so they have the experience needed.

What do you think?  Is the nursing shortage a myth or very real?  What should nursing schools and healthcare employers do to increase opportunities for nursing school students and new graduates to gain the experience needed? Let us know in the comments or the forum.

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Living and Working as a Nurse in Indianapolis

Posted in Nursing Jobs

One of the most recently revitalized cities in the United States, Indianapolis is home to some great Midwestern hospitals. Some of the best nursing jobs in Indianapolis can be found at the St. Vincent Hospital and Clarian Health Partners, which are all well-rated by  US News and World Report, and have high-ranking specialties.

Many Indianapolis nursing jobs are in hospitals located on various numbered streets, including the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center and Wishard Health Services.
Nurses working in the Indianapolis area command salaries that are moderate as the cost of living is about average compared to the rest of the country.  Staff RNs average about $67,000 per annum. Licensed practical nurses average about $40,000 per year, with CNAs averaging just under $28,000 in annual pay. All figures are from Salary.Com for 2012.

For travel nurses visiting the city, there are all sorts of places of interest to see and experience, from the Children’s Museum to the Museum of Art. Plus, there’s the Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Sports enthusiasts will surely enjoy watching the Pacers and the Colts, and a pilgrimage to the Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum is a must. History buffs will have fun checking out the President Benjamin Harrison House, or strolling around the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum – or spend time at the Indiana State Fair in November.

Whether residing in Indianapolis or visiting as a travel nurse, getting around is not too bad, as the center of the city is laid out in a grid. Interstate 465 rings around the city and intersects Interstate 74. The White River runs to the west of the city and is crossed at Maryland Street.

Indianapolis travel nursing jobs are often in the downtown area, which is where a lot of the numbered streets are. Other downtown cities are named after presidents or states, with New York Street cutting all the way across from east to west, and Pennsylvania Street traversing north and south.

Another popular transportation option in Indianapolis is the comprehensive public transportation system. IndyGo (the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation) consists of buses with connections to CIRTA (Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority), a regional rail service. Several of the bus lines service area hospitals, particularly the #10 and the #28.

Housing is generally more expensive the closer you get to the center of things. Prices can be higher in affluent areas such as Forest Hills, Herrin-Morton and Windsor Park. Prices are lower in the Warren Park and Devington areas, and are rather low in comparison to other parts of the United States. According to Trulia, the market is in flux, with many listings rising but sale prices falling in early 2013. Apartment living can be in modern townhouses or sometimes in developments.

Educational opportunities are plentiful, as Indianapolis is home to a concentration of great colleges and universities. Nursing programs are available at (among others) Indiana University, Purdue University, Marian University and the University of Indianapolis. The experience of nursing in Indiana can be greatly improved by attending any of these schools.

Indianapolis – it’s not just the Speedway. Got more great ideas about living and working in Indianapolis? Feel free to add them in the Comments section!

Addicted to Helping People

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing Specialties


joyfnp/ Fotolia

A new book focusing on American nurses is nominally a book of portraits, intended for coffee tables. But a doctor writing in the New York Times, Abigal Zuker, found the the narrative to be the most affecting part, hitting her “in the solar plexus.”

For example, she appreciated the observation of a hospice nurse named Jason Short in rural Kentucky who has had a number of jobs, including auto mechanic and commercial trucker. He turned to nursing when the economy went under. This pragmatic decision turned into something more, and Mr. Short says he’s a nurse for good. “Once you get a taste for helping people, it’s kind of addictive,” he says in the book, called “The American Nurse.”

The book tells the stories of 75 nurses. Some of them wanted to be nurses from when they were very young, while others took Mr. Short’s more pragmatic approach. All of the nurses profiled exhibit the same “surprised gratitude,” according to Dr. Zuker.

The nurses profiled come from many different health care settings from many different places in America, ranging from large academic institutions like Johns Hopkins to very small places like the Villa Loretto Nursing Home in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin. There are administrators, home health care workers, emergency room nurses, military nurses, and much more.

All describe unique professional paths in short first-person essays culled from video interviews conducted by the photographer Carolyn Jones. Their faces beam out from the book in Ms. Jones’s black-and-white headshots, a few posing with a favorite patient or with their work tools — a medevac helicopter, a stack of prosthetic limbs or a couple of goats.

But even the best photographs are too static to capture people who never stop moving once they get to work. For a real idea of what goes on in their lives, you have to listen to them talk.

Here is Mary Helen Barletti, an intensive care nurse in the Bronx: “My whole life I’ve marched to a the beat of a different drummer. I used to have purple hair, which I’d blow-dry straight up. I wore tight jeans, high heels and — God forgive me — fur (now I am an animal rights activist). My patients loved it. They said I was like sunshine coming into their room.”

Says Judy Ramsay, a pediatric nurse in Chicago: “For twelve years I took care of children who would never get better. People ask how I could do it, but it was the most fulfilling job of my life. We couldn’t cure these kids, but we could give them a better hour or even a better minute of life. All we wanted to do was make their day a little brighter.”

Says Brad Henderson, a nursing student in Wyoming: “I decided to be a nurse because taking care of patients interested me. Once I started, nursing just grabbed me and made me grow up.”

Says Amanda Owen, a wound care nurse at Johns Hopkins: “My nickname here is ‘Pus Princess.’ I don’t talk about my work at cocktail parties.”

John Barbe, a hospice nurse in Florida, sums it up: “When I am out in the community and get asked what I do for a living, I say that I work at Tidewell Hospice, and there’s complete silence. You can hear the crickets chirping. It doesn’t matter because I love what I do; I can’t stay away from this place.”

Getting Political

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing Specialties


pkchai/ Fotolia

“Healthcare is political,” says a nurse quoted in this article on The article looks at why some nurses have become politically active.

Pat Barnett was motivated to get involved in the legislative process in 1976, when she was a young nurse working for a state psychiatric hospital. At the time, deinstitutionalization was underway, with attempts by the state to move people from state facilities to the community. Barnett felt that she couldn’t just stand by and watch what she saw as a great injustice, as people were discharged from the state institutions but then had nowhere to go, and were given very little support. “So you would see people end up in the No. 1 institution for the mentally ill,” says Barnett. “Jail.”

She testified along with other nurses and they were able to get more funding for the mental health system, allowing some facilities to remain open.

Barnett points out that nursing is a highly regulated profession, which means that it’s especially important for nurses to be active and engaged politically.

The current state of healthcare and the upcoming presidential election add to that urgency, Barnett says. The points out that the Affordable Care Act alone has a great impact on nurses. If it stands, there will be 900,000 new patients in the state of New Jersey who will have new health coverage. Right now there are 1,400 too few primary care doctors — Barnett sees nurses as possible saviors.

“We have 5,000 advanced practice nurses, 80% of whom actually practice in primary care, and many of those take Medicaid and Medicare patients,” Barnett said. “So I think nurses need to be involved because the Affordable Care Act creates opportunity for nurses, whether or not they are advanced practice nurses. Also, there is money in the Affordable Care Act to create nurse-run clinics — and money for nursing education. That happened only because the American Nurses Association, other nursing associations and individual nurses lobbied the legislature and their individual legislators to make that happen.”

The Institute of Medicine weighed in on the importance of nursing input in its October 2010 report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.” According to the IOM, nursing is at a pivotal point.

“Nurses’ roles, responsibilities and education should change significantly to meet the increased demand for care that will be created by healthcare reform and to advance improvements in America’s increasingly complex health system,” the IOM announced after releasing its report.

Even as the largest healthcare profession, nursing’s voices often are silent or ignored, according to Vance.

“I believe our values and concerns should be heard to help our patients and our profession,” she said. “We have to decide whether we want to make our voices heard, [and have] input in the decision-making around our practice. Or, they’ll make these decisions without our input.”

Many nurses, like a number of Americans, think politics is a dirty word, according to Linda Parry-Carney, RN-BC, MA, education specialist at Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center.

Parry-Carney is a former president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association and the current chairwoman of the board for the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing.

What nurses might not realize, she said, is they already are politicians, whether they’re negotiating with patients at the bedside, with employers, on hospital committees or as members of organizations.

Legislators don’t act alone. They make decisions based on what their constituents want, according to Parry-Carney.

“[As NJSNA president,] when I needed to talk to the Governor’s staff, an assemblyperson, senator or the commissioner of health, it wasn’t just me sitting in front of him,” she said. “He knew I represented the interests of all the people who were members of our organization, and, in fact, all nurses in New Jersey.”

One nurse sharing his or her perspective helps formulate strategies that groups use in an effort to influence policy and make changes.

“Every nurse should be a ‘political’ nurse because we are such a caring, large constituency for people,” Vance said. “We are important to society. We’re important to people. So we have to take our practice beyond the bedside, beyond the school, beyond our research, and set it in a larger way into community involvement, which means being an activist, being a volunteer, being an informed citizen.”

Popularity of Nurse-Midwives is Rising Again

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing Specialties

October 1st, 2012
Jenna Fischer

Dalia Dulia/ Fotolia

This article on the Boston Channel website looks into the increasing popularity of nurse-midwives after a period of decline.

For example, a woman named Carla Tonks decided to switch to a nurse-midwife program when she was pregnant with her first child seven years ago. She hadn’t been impressed with her experience with the ob-gyn, especially the long waits at his office that resulted in actually seeing the ob-gyn for only 10 minutes.

She switched over to a nurse-midwife program and was much happier. She moved away from Massachusetts and became pregnant with her second child, and this time sought out a nurse-midwife in North Carolina, her new location. This experience went well too, and she kept up the trend with her third child after she returned to Massachusetts. In the article she pronounces herself “very happy” with nurse-midwives, and appreciates that they can spend more time with mothers-to-be.

Midwives, which were the rule until the mid-20th Century, are becoming more popular again. According to a report by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, 11.3 percent of vaginal births and 7.6 percent of all births were attended by either certified nurse midwives (CNMs) or certified midwives (CMs) in 2009. The number has risen each year since 1989. Certified midwives are not nurses but have Master’s degrees.

Anna Jaques offers nurse-midwives. Either type provides care to women during pregnancy, labor and birth, as well as during the postpartum period. They typically handle low-risk pregnancies.

“We do all the check-ups, all the prenatal care,” says Walsh, one of five nurse-midwives on staff at Anna Jaques. “If a complication arises, we consult with the physicians. They are always on call. If the patient needs a C-section, the physicians take over. But we are still in the operating room.”

Tonks said she did develop high blood pressure during her most recent pregnancy, but she decided not to transfer to a doctor’s care.

“The nurse-midwives can take on a lot more than you think,” she says.

Another plus was that over the course of her pregnancy, Tonks developed close relationships with all the nurse-midwives at the hospital, so if Walsh, for some reason, was unavailable at the time of delivery, Tonks would still know the person performing the delivery in her stead.

Are Nurses Too Noisy?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News

maska82/ Fotolia


As nurses, we are sometimes guilty of making a little too much noise, especially at shift change when our numbers temporarily swell, and during the night when we are attempting to stay awake using any means at our disposal. Sometimes noise is not entirely our fault, such as when a confused patient cries out in the night, oblivious to others who are trying to rest. Let’s face it — hospitals can be noisy places, and while certain noises can be controlled, others cannot.

Some areas are understandably noisier than others. Newborn nurseries can be loud, especially when several infants are vying for attention at the same time. The emergency room can be a very noisy environment, usually full to overflowing with multiple patients in extremis.

Patients in the ICU are exposed to not only the noise emanating from other patients, but from a variety of equipment that beeps, honks, rings and clangs — it’s enough to drive anyone mad! So how do patients perceive the noises encountered in the ICU? A study from the University of Gothenburg set out to answer this question.

Researchers registered and recorded the level of sound around thirteen seriously ill ICU patients over a full 24-hour period of time. On average, the sound levels around the patients fell between 51 and 55 decibels (dB). How loud is 55 decibels? This level of noise can be compared to lying beside a busy road. This level of sound is approximately 20 decibels higher than the level recommended by the World Health Organization. Worse, the noise level surrounding the study participants sometimes rose to a level of 100 decibels in short bursts.

The patients categorized the noises they experienced as being either positive or negative. The positive noises included staff members chatting quietly among themselves or providing information regarding a patient’s conditions or treatment. These sounds were viewed as comforting and soothing, rather than annoying or bothersome.

Negative sounds were those sounds that were unpredictable and/or uncontrollable. Examples included noises from machinery, other patients or treatments. Sounds that were loud and unidentifiable were also frightening. Sounds even became part of the hallucinatory landscape for one patient in the study. Sudden loud noises were deemed to be more disturbing than a generally loud and constant noise level.

What level of noise is acceptable? The World Health Organization actually recommends a level of 30 decibels for patient rooms. Most of us do not walk around with a sound pressure level meter in our pocket to determine how much noise we are making; however, we should make every effort to provide a quiet, calm and restful environment for our patients. Being in a loud environment is not only unpleasant, but the resulting lack of sleep has been found to have a real impact on health outcomes.

Of course, we are only human and are sometimes guilty of laughing or talking a little too loudly, but on the whole we should be cognizant that sound travels and can reach the ears of patients who are trying to earn that most valuable of commodities in a busy hospital environment — a good night’s sleep.

A Nurse’s Perspective on Choosing Nursing

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Robert Kneschke –

Guest post by Marietta Faris, BSN

Maybe it happens for everyone and for every career, but it seems to me that nurses have their careers questioned more than others do. It could be that I have been a nurse for more years than I wish to state, and that every one of those years I see the question of “why” come up yet again. I do think it’s a good question though, and I even use it as an interview question when hiring new employees. I love telling the story of why I chose nursing myself, because that reason is very special to me.

One of the themes of the answers I get to the “why” question is that family members are or used to be nurses: “My favorite aunt worked as a nurse and I always looked up to her,” or “My mom’s a nurse and I loved the stories of helping with deliveries.” I have even had a few people talk about their fathers being nurses.

Another theme is having been present to see nursing in action when a family member was ill: “When my brother was sick as a kid the nurses were great to him,” and “I saw how comfortable the nurses made my grandma.” People coming to nursing as a second career are likely to talk about having been the caregiver in the family, for a grandparent or other relative.

For me, my career path was set by my father. My dad died at the age of 43. He left behind my mother and five children, of whom I am the youngest. The only memories I have of my father are stories people told me. One of these included his wish for one of his children to become a nurse. I took that wish as my own and decided I would deliver on his wish. Little did I know of the gift he had set before me in my nursing career.

As a young 18-year-old girl going off to nursing school, I had little understanding of what nurses really did. Growing up in rural Illinois, with no nurses in the family or in the local community, pretty much all of the nursing I knew was from television shows. (I’d list them but then you’d really know how old I am, let’s just say it was way before Gray’s Anatomy.)

I had worked for three months at the local nursing home. The patients there were not actually ill, they were just older and required help with the basics. I learned some of the physical skills I would need later but did not learn anything about nursing as I would come to know it.

Nursing started to come into focus for me when I was assigned to care for an elderly man who had come to the hospital after he was beaten and robbed by a home invader. I had never had anyone hold my hand so tight. He needed me to just be there with him, to show him someone cared, to reassure him that I would help keep him safe. This was nursing. This was caring. This was the first of many times I would be present when a patient needed me for more than the meds I could give or the assessment skills I had. I was in a position to comfort their spirits or share their pain or celebrate their recovery.

I may not remember the time I had with my dad as a child, and only have the memories of him from stories shared with me. He was not there for my graduation from high school or from nursing school. I missed him at my wedding. He will never shake hands with his grandson. Yet, he is here with me every day of my career, for it was his gift to me. Thanks, Dad.