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Phoenix Forward

What inspired you to become a nurse?

It's easy to feel inspired by nurses: It's a field that requires compassion, skills and a desire to help others, all in a day's work. But have you ever wondered why people are drawn to this service-oriented profession? Here, some stories from industry veterans, looking back on their careers:

Pam Fuller.
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I was on my own from the age of 15, when my mother died. I graduated from high school at 17 and got a job as a unit clerk on the obstetrics floor of a hospital. I didn't know anything about nursing. But soon the nurses on the floor inspired me with their skills and the incredible compassion they showed their patients. I wanted to be like them. I had to save my money for years and then move to another state, but I was able to obtain my associate degree in nursing at age 26. I eventually also got my BSN, MN and doctorate. If you had told me as a poor orphan at the age of 15 that someday I'd be a dean of nursing, I'd have never believed it."

- Pam Fuller, EdD, MN, RN, dean
College of Nursing

Evelyn Anderson
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I was inspired to become a nurse during World War II. My older brother was a P38 pilot who was shot down over the Pacific [and survived]. I volunteered at a very short-staffed local hospital during the war while still in high school and decided to become a nurse in part as a 'payback' for my brother's survival. My mother was against my becoming a nurse and talked me into attending college instead. After I graduated, I then went to a nursing school. My mother's negative attitude turned out to be fortuitous for me, because I attended Yale University, obtained a master's in nursing and was subsequently much in demand."

- Evy Anderson, RN, MSN, PhD, nursing faculty
University of Phoenix San Diego Campus

Kathy Chelini
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I originally wanted to be a physician but decided that career wasn't for me. I left college and married a Navy man and led the military spouse life for a while. After a complicated pregnancy, the nurses who helped take care of me inspired me to enter the profession, and I eventually became a nurse-midwife. I may have come to nursing later than my peers, but it was the best decision I ever made."

- Kathy Chelini, RN, MSN, CNM, chair of nursing
University of Phoenix East Jacksonville Learning Center

Tamara Evans
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When I was still in high school, I thought about becoming a nurse, but instead I married very young and had my first child at age 18. I didn't get a lot of support from the hospital -- I think because I was such a young parent and they didn't approve. But when I had my second child at age 22, the nursing care I received in the maternity department was incredible. The nurses made me feel so good and supported, I decided I wanted to be like them. I started taking prerequisite courses almost right away and was in nursing school by the time my child was a year old."

- Tamara Evans, RN, MSN, PhD, nursing faculty
University of Phoenix Modesto Learning Center - Salida

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