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Jun 24

I want to solve tough problems…

My wonderful niece Jenn!

I had lunch with my niece today—Jenn is a bright, funny and engaging young woman (age 37) who has had some struggles in her life. Pregnant at 16 and unable to complete high school, she has worked hard to obtain her high school equivalency, and is single-handedly raising two wonderful kids (her oldest is now 19). She feels she is at a turning point in her life, and wanted to meet to talk about possibly going in to nursing. She has been working as a phlebotomist for several years, and has grown so much in that role—she is now a trainer of others in the skills of engaging with the public and performing phlebotomy. But, she no longer feels challenged by her work, and put it this way: “I want a career that challenges me. I am good at the tasks in my job, but that’s just it…I want more than tasks. I want to solve tough problems, and I thrive on challenging situations that others shy away from.” I told her that was just about the best description of a reason to enter nursing that I had ever heard (and MUCH better than the one I gave to the admissions officer when I applied after high school—“I don’t want to be a secretary and I really want to help people”—yuk right? Apologies to any secretaries in the readership…)  As registered nurses, we need to be good at tasks, sure, but that’s the easy part! What we really do is engage with others to assist them in defining, priorizing and addressing tough problems as they seek to live their health—and we thrive on challenges that would topple the fainter-of-heart.
She also  told me that the prospect of studying nursing both excited and scared her, and I told her what I have always
told my own kids: if it scares you, but you can manage the risks, it’s likely something you should do!

So, she is starting the application process…and I am so excited about having another nurse in the family one day—it makes me very proud.  I look forward to watching her grow into the amazing nurse I know she will be…and I’ll be there every step of the way.

If any of you  (especially the nursing students out there) would like to offer Jenn some words of wisdom or encouragement, I know it would mean a lot to her!

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