I initially chose my career in nursing for financial reasons. One of my friends had become a registered nurse and was making a very comfortable living. When we would get together, I would often ask her questions about the time commitment involved with becoming an RN and what she liked and disliked about the job. Being a close friend, she tried her best to paint an accurate picture for me of what her daily work was all about and certainly didn’t sugarcoat her position. While I was interested in what she had to say, I was much more interested in finding a way to quickly raise my earning potential. I enrolled in a nursing program and worked part time while I went to school. After graduation, I was able to get a job at a senior care facility. I was already prepared for the worst I might encounter and was looking forward to getting my first paycheck.
My first paycheck came and went, and while I was happy to be earning a high hourly wage, my focal point had shifted. You see, for the first time in my working life, I actually looked forward to going to work. It’s not that I ever hated any particular previous job so much that I dreaded coming in, but more that I always viewed work as a necessary evil. Nursing changed that for me.
Everyday, I get to help people. I comfort them when they need to be comforted. I listen when they need someone to talk to. I have a very busy schedule, and not everything I do is rewarding or even pleasant, but there are aspects of this job that make me feel like I am really making a difference to someone. Three months after I started my job, one of our patients unexpectedly passed away. When his family came for the wake and funeral, they made a point to stop by the facility and thank me. Apparently, this man had told them several times of how kind I was to him and how much he appreciated it. Hearing this made me cry, but it also made me happy that my efforts were appreciated.
It’s now been a few years since I first graduated from the nursing program. I’m going to earn an online bachelor’s of science in nursing while I continue at my job. My hope is to eventually become head nurse, although I want to avoid moving into an administrative position. I like spending my workday caring for patients. The feeling I get from my job is worth more than any paycheck could ever be.