When did you know that you wanted to be a nurse? Did you always know that you wanted to be one? Or do you come from a long line of nurses or medical professionals? To kick off this blog, I want to share how I came to the profession and a bit of my nursing journey over the last nine years. I hope you enjoy reading a little bit of my “origin story”.
I did not have anyone in my family who came from a medical background, except maybe my mother…she did medical billing back in Peru during the 1970’s. When graduation was looming, the typical conversations were what college and the major’s people were choosing; I had no idea what I wanted to do or what college, but as a child I remember wanting to be in medicine. Looking back now, I’m surprised my mother did not nag and push me to choose a major or college…her being Asian and all, she just made it very clear I was to go to college. All I knew was that everyone was choosing nursing and I was clueless. I ended up taking a year off and working for a government contractor till I was nineteen attending community college basic classes.
I knew I couldn’t continue working and attending community college, so I looked into colleges and I came across Southern Adventist University. I was accepted right away and within a month I made the move to Tennessee as a nursing major because everyone was doing it and it seemed like the logical decision. The thinking was that as a nurse I’ll always have a job, always make money, and in an emergency, I would always know what to do. I had a great time in college and still remember those years fondly; the program was extremely hard to get into and to keep up. The passing percentage there was 78% or you were kicked out of the program, so the hours of studying were long and tests very hard. I, however, persevered and four years later, I ended up getting my Associate’s, moved back to South Florida, took the NCLEX (which is the accreditation test that gives you your license) within a month of coming back. Three months after graduation and taking the NCLEX, I got a job working in Miami, and the following year I completed my Baccalaureate’s degree. Pfff…even I’m tired describing this…I did so much in such a short amount of time.
During my time in Miami, I started in an orthopedic floor and I got day shift! I remember during the interview when I asked about which shift, I would get, I felt a little like Harry Potter when he asked, “for anything but Slytherin”. My “Gryffindor” was day shift, I did not want night shift, but new grads cannot be choosers. I got lucky; the only available day shift was passed over by the night shift nurses…I have no idea why because any day shift opening is quickly taken by night shift. I stayed on that floor for about two years or so until I got bored and started to see where else I could go; I was also lucky that I had a great director. She encouraged everyone to move, to grow and she was the logical choice to help me see what else I could do. She ended up suggesting the ER…what? Me? Seriously?
“Yes, you, I think you have the perfect personality to take on the challenge.”
So down to the ER/trauma I went, and I stayed there for about four years; again, I started getting restless. During that time, many travelers came and went, I listened to all the places they’ve traveled to and the amount of money that can be made by traveling and I became fascinated. That did it for me, I had to travel! I researched travel agencies, read anything I could find on travel nursing, put in my two-week notice and started a new chapter in my life and career.
Traveling was a different experience; contracts are mainly thirteen weeks and that contract can be extended but you cannot stay in the same assignment for more than a year due to tax reasons. Traveling gives you the opportunity to visit different places, meet different people, you do make more money but, it also gets you out of your comfort zone. Every new assignment, there’s an orientation, different co-workers, different doctors and even different types of patients. I met some awesome people that I still keep in contact with and still remember fondly the good times we had. During this time, my Japanese Chin Taro passed away from a doggy stroke and I adopted a chihuahua that I named Kona. She will be making appearances on this blog and last year she became SFV official dog!
In 2017, I moved back to South Florida and started to work for another hospital system, but this time in the cath lab. I still go down to the ER to keep up my IV and triage skills, plus I love blood and guts and still need that fix (a little graphic maybe). It was during this time that I went to Fort Lauderdale VegFest on a free weekend off; by this time I was reaching my ten year veganniversay, so I naturally wanted to check all the vegan hotspots SoFlo had to offer and also hang out with like-minded people. This is the VegFest that changed my life once again and added another facet to my career; I met a gentleman named Sean who was the founder of SoFlo Vegans. He gave me his card and told me to call him, I definitely think he thought I was not going to call him, which I did two days. We got to talking and he invited me to check out one of the events. It went from me attending events to be an extra set of hands at events, to “Hey, you wanna captain this event?”.
Here we are now, three years later: Social Media Coordinator, co-host of SoFlo Vegans Podcast and writing my first official The Veg Nurse Blog posting. I couldn’t be more thankful or more excited to start yet another chapter of this journey called life. With peace and gratitude.