I cannot honestly pinpoint when my journey into nursing began. At times I’ll tell people it was when I was an accident prone child and teenager that had numerous surgeries, stitches and near concussions and spent more than a few days in hospitals. Other times it “began” when I was a Peace Corps volunteer living in Masasi, Tanzania as a community health volunteer. The truest answer, though, is that I have always been on the journey towards a career in nursing, it just took a little time for me to realize it.
For my first undergraduate degree I chose to study Sociology and Anthropology. I did so not with much foresight about what my future job/career would be, but because social issues and human beings greatly interested me. After I graduated I immediately went into the Peace Corps and was given the assignment of a “Health Educator”. Having much more of an appetite for adventure than any real knowledge about how to teach about health, I was ecstatic to learn Swahili and live in Tanzania. I committed to 27 months of being away from family and many of the comfortable aspects of American life.
During my service I failed many times. Half of the plans that I had didn’t seem to work out. I was constantly frustrated. Electricity and water shortages, bug bites, blistering heat, and boring food were the things I could rely on everyday. I returned from my service in 2011 and I miss it every single day. Somewhere in there I came to greatly appreciate everything about the daily struggle that most Tanzanians go through on daily basis, along with their quickness to laugh and welcome you into their home for chai or ugali.
I also became greatly appreciative of the nurses and healthcare professionals that I worked with for most of the projects that I carried out. Whether it was giving out life saving HIV/AIDS treatments or delivering babies, the jobs they did were the most important in the country. Upon getting ready to return to the U.S., I planned out how to become a Registered Nurse.
Starting my career as an RN in May 2014 at NYP Weil Cornell Medical Center has confirmed that I have made the best decision of my life in becoming a nurse. It has been the most challenging job that I’ve ever had, while also being the most rewarding. One of the best things about nursing is the sense that you are working as part of a team. It is very important to nurture that team environment and positively contribute in any way possible. Also, being a nurse provides people of all ages to work anywhere in the world. This is the perhaps the greatest aspect of nursing, in my opinion. It was just recently announced that Time magazine’s “Person of Year” award are the Ebola Fighters. Thousands of amazing nurses from all over the world have risked their own lives to be able to help and save more.
The future of nursing will be very challenging. We live in a very complex and interconnected world. A viral outbreak in West Africa can reach Dallas, TX and New York City. Specifically, in the United States, the population is getting increasingly diverse and nursing will do the same. More minorities, males, and those looking for a second career will help to fill the nursing ranks in this country. Nursing education and research will inevitably become more internationally focused. The exchange of information and technology will no doubt help disseminate much needed information but can also help nursing education and practice become more multicultural.