Each day begins with a quick prayer to make a difference, a habit I acquired when working on the hospital floor. Currently, I pray to make a difference for my students so that they can make a difference for their future patients. I plan each weekday over the weekend, searching for ways to differentiate the lessons in order to provide holistic learning to the students. It is a bit of a challenge to teach, and reach, 30 students effectively, allowing for individuality and setting a high standard of care. I arrive at work between 7:20am and begin teaching at 8:24am. I leave anywhere between 3:45pm and 6:00pm depending upon the day.
I decided to become a nurse later in life. In fact, I graduated nursing school when I turned 40. After working retail most of my life, owning a small antiques business, working as a Realtor, and transitioning into housekeeping at the local Holiday Inn to ensure a regular income, my husband said that I needed to get a degree. We decided on either dental assistant or nursing. I was fairly sure that I wasn't going to make it through but I decided on nursing and became determined to succeed. I took every opportunity to grow, including running for class president (I was elected) and participating in the National Student Nurses Association Leadership University (the only person at the college to do so before or since). That said, I have been a caregiver all of my life.
I graduated high school in 1989 then moved to Atlanta with my husband while he obtained his Doctorate. Never quite feeling adequate enough to attend college, I chose a different path. It wasn't until years later, and at my husband's encouragement, that I furthered my education. I applied for the ADN RN program at South Florida Community College (the name has since changed to South Florida State College). I became an ADN graduate and took my NCLEX, passing on the first time. I then took another class to complete my ASN, the completed more classes to obtain my AA and begin my Bachelor's of Science Nursing degree. In the process of taking classes for that Associate in Arts degree, I took my English II class with my dual-enrolled high school junior daughter. We even partnered on our projects. I then applied for my BSN and was among the first accepted to the new hybrid program at the now South Florida State College. I am currently considering furthering my education in order to obtain a Masters in Mental Health Nursing.
I believe that my decision to take every opportunity that came along to better myself, to complete the program without all the fears I had of failure or embarrassment controlling me, was an absolutely turning point in my entire life. I proved to myself, and to everyone else, that yes, I could and yes, I am.
This isn't a field for the Nike 'Just Do It' slogan. Yes, you must get it done, but don't ever just do it. Care about what you're doing and who you are doing it to if you want to make a difference. Beyond that, study; not just for the pending test but also to be prepared when you and you alone are the only thing between life and death for the patient. Everyone in healthcare, everyone, will have that moment.
Just about anyone should/could be a CNA. One caveat, however, would be if you don't have an ounce of compassion or empathy, choose another field. Healthcare is not for you.