Write an essay where you tell us about what inspired you to pursue a nursing degree.

"She’s an angel!" My cousin James stated as he smiled at an attractive nurse. His flirtation was a brief escape from his current realty. His sister Clair had just transferred from a hospital to a hospice inpatient unit, where we encountered this nurse. At age four, I did not fully comprehend death, so Clair’s sickness was not particularly stressful for me; however, I did notice the anger and fear expressed by my family. During Clair’s last days I saw how this nurse not only comforted James, but the rest of my family.

Since her cancer diagnosis, I had seen many health care professionals treat Clair, but this nurse left the biggest impression on me. She somehow managed to be efficient, but never in a hurry.
When Clair lost the ability to see and speak I asked many questions like "Is she dead?" "Is it finally over?" I got no answers from my family--lost in their own grief. It was her nurse who pulled me aside and explained to me what was happening and what remained. She described it in a way that made death beautiful; later, another nurse made me see the beauty in my own life when I could not see it.

As a young adult, I attempted suicide. Overwhelmed with my life I began to see death as an easy way out.
Once I was medically stable, I felt suicidal again, but my nurse helped me rediscover all the beauty that surrounded me. She was a good nurse because she did not come off as overly kind. She helped me realize how loved and valued I was without worrying about me being too sensitive to handle the truth. She was the honesty I needed to get better. These two nurses both modeled how an excellent nurse can transform a situation. There conversations were therapeutic, perhaps even more than medication.

Circumstances that result in a hospital stay are the worst experiences of human existence, but a good nurse can turn these experiences into memories that change perspective. Since my suicide attempt, nothing motivates me to push more than becoming a registered nurse.

Jestina from Maryland
College Junior
University of Maryland School of Nursing