Nurses Aid: a Great Beginning
by, 04-10-2009 at 04:38 PM (2734 Views)
I'm always impressed when I learn an RN began his or her career as a nurses aid. This indicates to me that person was infected with a bad case of the nursing bug early on and just kept going.
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Mary Wakefield, RN, PhD, appointed by President Obama to be the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).* HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and on the same par as the CDC and NIH.**
It's a proud moment for nurses when one of our own is running the show at the very highest levels of the federal government.
But it doesn't stop there. Wakefield is not only an RN, she is an RN, who like many other RNs, began her journey as a nurses aid.
When I asked Wakefield what led her to choose nursing, she told me about working as a nurses aid during high school in her hometown in North Dakota--population: 7500 hardy souls. She worked in a nursing home for the evening shift, which ended at 11:30 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., she was clocking in at the local hospital to work the nightshift in the newborn nursery.
She says that while working shifts at both ends of the life span continuum, the nursing bug bit her. After high school, she entered nursing school, continuing the steep trajectory which has brought her to her present high position in the U.S. government.
Wakefield is not the first one I've known who started out as a nurses aid. I know nurses at all levels of education and responsibility who began their careers this way. There must be many more I've met who were nurses aids, but I am just not aware.
So the next time you come in contact with a nurses aid, think of all the RNs who started right where this person is now. You never know if you might be looking at a future RN. And if this nurses aid has not yet been bitten by the nursing bug, maybe you can spread the infection. Remember, nursing has been shown to be contagious!
Were you a nurses aid before you became an RN? Or do you know someone who was? Write and tell us about it.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ *Dont miss our special Nurses Week interview with Mary Wakefield in the May 4, 2009, issue of Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek and online at nurse.com.
**For more about Mary Wakefield, RN, PhD, see http://newsroom.hrsa.gov/biography/wakefield.htm