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May 7, 2014

Nurses specialize in many areas

From the time I was a small child, if anyone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a nurse. I’m the first one in my family to go to college. Looking back, I did not realize just how much being a nurse would change my life.

I believe being a nurse is one of the most rewarding of all professions. No one ever told me being a nurse was such a blessing. It is through being a nurse I believe I have a greater appreciation for the gift of each and every day.

As a nurse, you give entirely of yourself: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Plainly said, being a nurse is simply an honor. You are there to share in the brightest moment of someone’s life, or to be the light in their darkest hour. You are there to celebrate during the first breath of life, and sometimes you are there to comfort during the last breath. Every day, a nurse has an opportunity to reach out and help someone and a responsibility to deliver competent and compassionate care to each patient, just as if they were part of their own family.

Nurses touch our lives by specializing in so many areas. Throughout the years, I have worked in a variety of nursing roles and have always enjoyed the role of teaching. Presently, as part of a dedicated team of nursing faculty with Ivy Tech Community College, I have the privilege of assisting future nurses to gain knowledge and understanding in order to blossom into the skilled nurses they are. The students drawn to nursing have a special desire to make a difference in someone’s life. What they will someday grow to realize is the difference being a nurse will make in their own lives.

— Melyssa McCoy, RN, MSN, assistant professor, Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute.

* * *

Many nurses when asked why they became a nurse will readily respond, “to help people.” While this is how I would initially respond as well, the better answer lies much deeper within my experience. At 17 years of age, I was a high school graduate, with a desire to help people and headed to nursing school. I envisioned myself in a white uniform and cap, working in the hospital caring for my patient the rest of my working life. Four years later, I was a registered nurse and was off to my first job, in the hospital. My dream was realized, mission accomplished.

Thirty-five years later, I no longer work in a hospital full time. My “patient” over the years has varied from an individual, a couple, a family, a neighborhood, a population and more. While my initial answer to the question of why I became a nurse continues to include my desire to help people, the answer has vastly intensified. Nursing allows me to learn from others as much as I teach. I have been honored to attend a patient’s first breath and a patient’s last breath. I have seen things so beautiful and also so overwhelming I have been overcome with emotion. As a nurse, I stepped away from the bedside and have found myself working from home, in offices and clinics, and now teaching future nurses in a college setting. Nursing affords so many opportunities I could not have imagined in my youth.

Why did I become a nurse? To help people, to learn and to teach, to empower, to support, to hope, to pray, to dry tears, to laugh, to spread knowledge, to save lives and to promote healthy life choices. Nursing is about caring, but includes so much more. I have been blessed beyond words and honored beyond my imagination to be part of the profession of nursing.

— Jeri Taylor, RN, MSN, assistant professor of nursing, Ivy Tech Community College.

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