What if… registered nurses worked in an environment conducive to learning and being mentored by senior registered nurses?
What if… registered nurses became part of state, national, and international governing bodies, not only members, but active participants?
What if… registered nurses were encouraged to seek higher learning – not only encouraged, but led by example from their mentors and peers?
These are thoughts that have plagued my mind for some time now.
When you are only one registered nurse, it is hard to see the answers to those “what if” questions.
When you become active members of local and federal nursing associations and international nursing organizations such as STTI (Sigma Theta Tau International), these “what ifs” start to become “how can we make this happen”?
A nursing journey with a long road to professionalism
When I was five years old, filling water pitchers for patients in my aunt’s privately owned nursing home seemed like a privilege for a little girl to be allowed to do for the seven patients under our care.
In my eyes at the time, I was a nurse. From the small hat and apron that my aunt made me, to my patent leather white shoes, I was a nurse.
Fast forward nineteen years, and that same aunt was pinning me at a nursing ceremony and a year later snapping pictures as I graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing.
I really was a nurse.
But I was making the mistake many nurses make; I was taking the long road to professionalism.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I am walking across the stage as a master’s prepared graduate from The University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing.
I am no longer one registered nurse, but part of a collective body of graduates and alumni with a voice.
Encouraging mentorship and improving the nursing profession
It is my dream to inspire other registered nurses to seek higher education early, to become part of state nursing associations, to foster mentorship and pride in helping other registered nurses pursue higher ground more quickly.
No one ever approached me and told me that a registered nurse should at least be BSN prepared to be considered a professional nurse.
I would like to see more registered nurses be masters prepared.
I would like to encourage many of those people who have that dream to be a nurse, to pursue it at universities, rather than junior colleges.
While I worked many years as an AD nurse, I wish someone had steered me to a four year college to start my nursing career, but certainly towards my BSN right out of junior college in 1987.
I feel I wasted a lot of years that I could have been making a difference in my profession, due to a lack of mentorship.
As a DNP, it is my belief that reaching that milestone will afford me more opportunities to be heard not just locally, but globally with many messages to further the profession of nursing.
I can begin now to make a difference in my community. Being a graduate student has driven my gift for writing in such a way I am currently able to reach out with messages about the profession.
My voice will start now as a masters prepared nurse, being active in various nursing bodies, to speak to registered nurses at the associate and baccalaureate level to climb higher.
Nurses need to hear to seek higher education. Nurses need someone to encourage, inspire and mentor them toward higher education.
Nurses need to hear a voice. I want to be that voice.