What Becoming A Nurse Means To Me

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

My mom and I were at the Bloomsburg Fair, an annual week-long event in central Pennsylvania; I couldn’t have been more than a teen at that time so it was at least 20 years ago. As we were walking through one of the exhibit buildings, an older gentleman had just collapsed so my mom shoved me out of the way to run and help this man and I remember thinking, “Gee mom, thanks for shoving me over” as she was kneeled over his body.

As far as I remember, he was ok. I think he just must have lost consciousness for a few moments. We stayed there until she knew that help had arrived and she left him in the care of other professionals and we went on our way. But I still remember feeling dumbstruck that she literally pushed her own daughter out of the way to help some stranger and I think I said something to her about it too.

Fast forward to today, as I myself (finally) am pursuing a career in nursing and someone asks me why nursing, that is the one memory that my mind conjures up every time and I think that this specific memory was so significant because that was the only time, even to this day, that I ever really saw my mom, who has been a nurse for over 40 years now, in “nurse mode.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, she nursed me and my siblings when we were sick and treated our injuries, but she was just being mom.

There’s something altogether different when you see someone you think you know so well doing what they were born to do and you realize that there is an enormous amount that you really don’t know. Now, instead of shock, I look back on that event in awe and I think, “Wow, my mom was/is a badass nurse and I just saw her in her element.”

And that’s what it means to be a nurse. It took me a while, mom, but I think I’m finally getting it.



This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.



  1. I decided to become a nurse after suffering a catastrophic illness. I was only 27 when I contracted necrotizing fasciitis. I spent 6 weeks in the ICU. The life-saving surgeries I endured left my left arm disfigured and I had a bilateral mastectomy which also entailed losing all of the skin and much muscle off my chest wall. I was devasted when I realized what happened to me. Needless to say, I was angry and hurt. I wasn’t the easiest patient to deal with but I had three nurses who were able to see past that and had such a huge impact on me that I chose to get my life together and become an RN. I am thankful to them every day for the kind of love, patience, and non-judgmental attitude they showed me. They helped me change my life and now I am able to help others.

  2. My mom was a Nurses’ Aide in the 50’s and 60’s. She was trained by the MDs and RNs she worked for and with. Often, she was sent into the community to do dressing changes, wound care, catheterizations, and to follow up on fragile patients in fragile families. She took me to clean the house while she worked. We lugged pots of soup on the bus (she didn’t learn to drive until she was 50!), bags of sandwiches, and Jell-O molds made of fruits and vegetables. We didn’t have gloves,chux, adult incontinence briefs, or many of the conveniences we take for granted now, but we did have Lysol, Lestoil, Borax, and household bleach. My younger sister and I were enlisted to shovel snow and rake leaves for free at these same homes. She was loved by many.

  3. I have been a nurse since 1969. I was 20 when I passed my boards. Now I am 69. I am trying to retire. It is easier said than done. I have been a Pediatric/Post Partum/Nursery/Neonatal nurse all these years.
    I have been a patient advocate. I have accomplished all my milestones…head nurse, supervisor, DON. And I have been back in total patient care for several years, because that is what is closer to my heart. Giving it up is very difficult. You see infants and children, new moms get better, or not…you grieve or celebrate with families, or away from them. It is essential to me. I care. That is what nursing is to me. I care. And have for nearly 50 years.
    And I have that wish for all nurses, regardless of age, regardless of chosen area of nursing…that you care, that you are an excellent patient advocate, and that you inspire others to do the same!!


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