In celebration of the nursing profession and National Nurses Week, Duke University School of Nursing students and alumni share with us what inspired them to pursue nursing as a career.
National Nurses Week is an opportunity for communities to recognize the full range of nurses’ contributions. It’s celebrated in honor of Florence Nightingale who is considered to be the founder of modern nursing.
Join us as we honor nurses who are leaders improving the quality of health care!
“When I was a sophomore in high school, I signed up for a medical explorers club. Once a month we wore scrubs and went to a local hospital where different medical professionals came to share their experiences with us. One week it was a CRNA. That day I decided I would go to nursing school and become an advanced practice nurse. There was just something about the APRN role versus all other disciplines that resonated with me from a very young age.” – Brittany Alexander, DNP student
“My experiences living with sickle cell disease attribute to my inspiration to become a nurse. My favorite quote, “every child deserves the freedom to laugh, to play, to just be a kid, no matter their illness” is what originally drew me to the health field. I was born with sickle cell disease, so living with it is all I ever knew. It wasn’t until I attended a Sickle Cell weekend at Camp Boggy Creek – a camp for children with chronic illnesses to promote play – that I realized that my life was different from others. That weekend I experienced play for the first time. I was able to run, laugh, swim, fish and dance without having to deal with the health-related stigmatizations faced as a sickle cell patient. That safe haven allowed me to express my pain without the worry of being labeled as a drug seeker, an issue majorly faced within the sickle cell community. My cry for help was acted on without hesitation and without assuming that my pain was unreal. My time at Camp Boggy Creek confirmed my passions of becoming a nurse specializing in Hematology/Oncology. While completing my first bachelor degree at the University of Florida, my curriculum introduced me to the concept that pain is subjective and not objective. Constantly being in and out of the hospital exposed me to the different roles of health care providers and allowed me to observe how they carried out their roles, which led me to decipher what my role would be as a nurse. I am serving as an advocate—someone that I did not have growing up—for not just patients with sickle cell, but patients who ever felt like their word was overlooked, hoping to limit the apprehensiveness of seeking help.” – Christina Augustin, ABSN ’17
“When I was 18 years old, I had a spontaneous pneumothorax that required me to have surgery and earned 13 staples on my left lung. I can remember my nurse like it was yesterday, she was the only one that made me feel comfortable and dealt with my fears. My grandma who is now much older was a cadet nurse and worked as a nursing director for multiple nursing homes. She always wanted to get her doctorate degree and I promised her I would work as hard as I could to get that degree for her before she passes. So here I am at the best nursing school for the #1 DNP program in the nation!” – Michelle Mendoza, DNP student
“While in middle school, I always wanted to be a paramedic. I loved the thought of helping people and ambulances. I joined my high school health science academy and two of my teachers were retired nursing instructors from the city hospital school of nursing. They were both wonderful role models and mentors who thought I’d make a great nurse. They encouraged me to pursue a career in nursing and helped me throughout the rest of my high school journey.” –David Derosier Jr., MSN student
"My grandmother inspired me to pursue a career in nursing. She was diagnosed with dementia and this inspired me to be an educator and advocate for my family as well as other families in my community who possibly feel helpless, like we initially did." - Renelle Whyte-Gunn, DNP student
“I was inspired to be become a nurse when my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While she was in the hospital, I witnessed her nurses not only provide adequate patient care, but also provide emotional care. They were compassionate and responded to her emotional, spiritual, and mental needs. They also provided my sister and I emotional support-they made us feel important and made sure our everyday needs were met. After my mother passed, I thought to myself that I need to give back and remembered her nurses and said to myself, “I can do that”. I am now a proud oncology nurse and though it is hard, I am comforted that I am a part of my patients’ unique journeys.” – Katherine Henderson, MSN student joining Fall 2018
“I was inspired to become a nurse by the initial lack of care received during the postpartum period of my first child in 1989. A wonderful postpartum nurse astutely recognized I needed assisted to the shower, help with breastfeeding, and my call light placed where I could reach it. This caring nurse demonstrated how I felt all nurses should treat their patients. I felt compelled to become a nurse that always treated her patients as I would want to be treated.” – Tammy Porter
“Growing up, I became intrigued to help people when they were unable to help themselves—I look at this as the most humbling services one can display to another. It was always bestowed in me to always look to out for what you can do for someone else. When I saw the endless opportunities, flexibility and security that nursing offers, my desire to fulfill my interest in health care to assist others came by the way of nursing.” –Brittany Lattimore
Thank you, nurses, for all that you do!