My Professional Path as a Nurse
Submitted by Ruby Z. Chu, RN, MSN/ED, CCRN
When I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated to see nurses in white uniform. I have this inner desire that nursing is something that I really wanted to do. Eventually, I enrolled in the nursing program and finished my degree. I started working in the medical area and I learned that to be a nurse you have to be caring, patient, integrity, intelligent, have a compassionate and listening ear, and always seek knowledge for advancement. Physicians, patients, families, and nurse managers always have high expectations for nurses in the workplace. Working at the bedside was not very easy. One advantage of working in the nursing profession is you can always change your specialty if you no longer grow in that area of your practice. As I became competent working in the medical unit I moved to telemetry and learned about different cardiac rhythms. I continued to grow in my nursing career and after three years in telemetry, I transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) where I found the real world of nursing.
ICU is a specialized area where nurses learned advanced skills in caring for critically ill patients. As an ICU nurse, you have to be disciplined and always think ahead of what is going to happen. You have to be proficient to know it all from ICU standard medications, advanced medical equipment, and management of complicated cases. My experience working in ICU transformed me to become an expert in providing quality care for critically ill patients, demonstrating strong observation, assessment, and intervention skills. ICU is a place where learning is always constant and as an ICU nurse, you have to keep up with your knowledge and advancement regarding ICU care. I took my ICU specialty certification and became a certified critical care registered nurse. Obtaining an ICU certification provided me confidence every day at work because of the wealth of knowledge that I carry with me every day. Going to critical care conferences is very invigorating seeing and talking to your cohort of nurses that came from different ICU specialty area.
As I continued my career in ICU, I decided to go back to school for my master's degree in nursing to become a clinical nurse educator. After I finished my master’s degree, I started to use what I learned in school providing in-service to my colleagues about the significance of career advancement and other subjects such as research. Finishing my master’s degree in nursing broadened my mindset about nursing as a profession. I’ve always wanted to be a positive influence to others and to give back to my profession. With the extensive nursing experience that I have, I wanted to share it to the next new generation of nurses and support them to reach the full potential of their careers. I believe that we always have to nurture our young nurses to grow and help them follow the path to success. I did my share as a bedside nurse for 30 years and now as a clinical nurse educator. My heart will always be with the bedside nurses. I will never forget the tough days of my experience but nurses are always blessed and survived whatever the challenges they encountered in the workplace. My goal of becoming a registered nurse would not become a reality if I did not begin working on my degree. The world of an RN is wide open with possibilities and career choices. Each of us has a dream placed in our heart that provides us with something worthwhile to aim for.
Currently enrolled in PhD Nursing and the program is an arduous process. I strongly support lifelong learning and becoming a positive influence to others. Sometimes, as I walked in the hallway of our institution nurses will stop and expressed to me about the challenges they faced at work. However, all I can do is just to listen I wish I can do more besides listening. I can truly relate to their experience because I have been there.