Why I Went into the Field of Nursing and My Journey Thus Far

  • 10 June, 2022

Some people know from a very young age what their calling in life is. While I thought that may have been the case for me at one point or another, I realized that my career as an artist would not pan out with only being able to draw stick figures; my desire to play in the WNBA would not be feasible at a mere five foot three inches; and my dream of becoming a veterinarian would fall short after learning that the role involved quite a bit more than petting cute animals all day. My visions of what I thought I would be when I grew up varied drastically throughout my younger years. In fact, it was not until my junior year of college when the light bulb finally went off. While I did not come out of the womb knowing that my future was in the field of nursing, I did eventually find my calling toward this career path. Here is my story as to why I went into the field of nursing and where it has led me along the years.

Why I Went into the Field of Nursing and My Journey Thus Far

1. Exploring My Interests

When I first began my college career, I had no idea what I wanted to study and was not sure of the career path I would embark upon. Given this uncertainty, I spent the first year and a half completing the required courses to graduate. Throughout this exploration, I discovered a liking for both the field of psychology and education. Given this newfound interest, when it came time to declare a major during my sophomore year, I decided to major in psychology and minor in education. I went back and forth several times before choosing this route, as there was still something unsettling about making such a drastic life decision.

2. Athletic Background

My athletic background made me interested in pursuing physical education, while my interest in psychology led me to ponder going into something along the lines of counseling or speech pathology. Despite my final choice, something still did not seem perfectly aligned. I felt somewhat excited about my decision, but still uncertain if I had made a mistake. My doubts continued to pile up as I realized more schooling would be required for whatever career I wanted to tackle with my chosen degree in psychology. This did not set too well given the amount of loans I had already taken out for my undergraduate career. The uneasiness continued to linger as the months passed, and it was not until my nephew was born that everything changed for me.

3. My Nephew's Birth

The day after I turned 21, I was gifted a late birthday present-a beautiful and healthy nephew. The memories of this day will forever be etched into my mind, for more reasons than one. On the one hand, I got to experience the sheer love of a brand-new human, but I also experienced a feeling of pure, overwhelming excitement strolling through the halls of the hospital where my nephew came into the world. It was on this day that I realized I had missed my calling. I could envision myself one day walking the halls and working in a similar setting to help take care of people. The birth of this little boy ignited the light that was always inside of me waiting to shine through.

4. The Lightbulb Moment

The intense feelings I experienced that day had me fully convinced in my mind, body, and soul that I needed to make a switch. There was not a doubt in my mind telling me to slow down or give it more thought. To this day, it is still one of the most intense "aha" moments I have ever faced. I acted on those emotions, and within a span of two weeks, I had successfully switched my major from psychology to nursing. Now, given that I was already in my junior year of college, this decision would be tacking on two additional years to my undergrad career, but I knew deep in my bones that it would be well worth it.

5. Prerequisites

To my surprise, the stars had aligned quite nicely, and all of the additional required prerequisites, aside from my science classes, had already been completed. Without even knowing they would be needed, I had previously taken statistics, nutrition, and developmental psychology. Therefore, the only classes standing in my way were biology, anatomy, and physiology, all of which could be completed within a year and a half on campus. Following this, I'd then successfully be able to transfer to the nursing campus an hour away. Because it lined up so nicely, it still felt like I was "graduating" and moving on to grad school given I'd be on an entirely new campus studying something completely different. With this perspective, I no longer felt behind and was still more than satisfied with my decision.

6. Never Be Afraid to Make a Change

Given my fascination with the human body and passion for helping others, it amazes me that the field of nursing never crossed my mind until that moment in time. It really goes to show that discoveries of interests can occur at any point throughout a lifetime, and it is never too late to chase after a dream. Had I let the fear of adding additional years to my schooling impact my decision, I would have never given myself the chance to explore or go after my gut feeling. My nephew is now seven, and to this day, I still tell him that he was the one who opened my eyes to the field of nursing and led me down the career path I have embarked upon thus far.

7. Focusing My Discipline

Due to the birth of my nephew, my initial vision was to go into the field of labor and delivery. However, once I got to the nursing school campus and went through a clinical rotation in this specialty, I realized that it was not a good match for me. I still wanted to be a nurse but felt as if my interests had shifted. Instead, my new calling led me toward working with children. In my previous non-nursing years, I grew up nannying and had always felt that I was able to connect and respond well to the younger population.

8. Experiencing Different Opportunities

I felt fortunate to be able to further explore different interests throughout my time as a student. It allowed for the opportunity to home in on my strengths and sift out areas that I knew were not well suited for me. The emergency room, ICU, and labor and delivery were a few of the fields that I felt I would most likely not ever experiment with. While it can sometimes be overwhelming with the wide variety of options, that is also the beauty of a nursing career-you'll never end up bored.

9. Working as a Medical/Surgical Nurse

Following the battle of nursing school, I took my boards and began working as a medical/surgical nurse. This was not a part of my initial plan, but I figured I would try it out and, at the very least, gain a wide range of experience to have under my belt for any future endeavors. I quickly realized that the hospital setting was not a good fit for me, and I only stayed in that job for a mere seven months. I kept trying to tell myself that "it would get better," but it was pretty evident that it would not, and I believe to my core that any job that negatively impacts your mental health is not worth it, ever.

10. Don't Be Afraid to Put Yourself Out There

While I was nearing the end of this job, I had applied for a position as an oncology nurse four hours away from where I currently lived. Being a homebody, this was a jump for me, but I knew that it would be a huge advancement in my career. This position provided me experience in administering chemotherapy, providing 1:1 education with newly diagnosed patients and families, and phone triage, as well as in-person triage. Looking back, it surprises me that a new nurse with only seven months of experience would be hired to work in such a fast-paced, highly skilled position. However, once again, this goes to show that if your heart is after it, APPLY! You have no idea where the road could lead if you put yourself out there.

11. School Nursing Position

While I learned a tremendous amount and grew dramatically in both skill and confidence levels, it was ultimately too emotional of a field for me to maintain long-term. Additionally, I was ready to move back home. I stayed in this position almost a year and a half before a school nurse position brought me back to my stomping grounds. Having received a minor in education during my undergrad, I had always been quite intrigued with the idea of school nursing and felt it would really intertwine my love for healthcare, education, and children. It was just about exactly how I envisioned it, and I truly enjoyed the various hats I wore within this role. I had the chance to use my educational skill set along with my clinical background, and it was a joy to be able to impact and interact with school-aged children, as well as staff members.

12. Starting My Family

I stayed in this role for a little over a year before having my first baby, which changed my focus entirely. After her birth, I decided it would be best for me to be at home with her full-time for at least a year or two, and I have since put my in-person nursing career on the backburner. However, shortly after making this decision, I began dabbling in health and medical writing. Before this transition, I had never heard of nurse writing or even remote nursing, for that matter. This takes me back to one of my earlier point that a career in nursing really can provide you with so many opportunities as long as you are willing to get creative and look for them.


While I do not know entirely where my future will take me, I can say that I am eternally grateful for the eye-opening event that got me to where I am today. The journey has been filled with highs, lows, and everything in between, and I absolutely would not change it for the world. My adventures as a nurse began only four years ago, and I have already experienced four entirely different fields and do not plan on stopping any time soon. If anything, I hope that my story has made you realize that you're never too late to go after what you feel called to do. Listen to your intuition, drown out the noise, and don't be afraid to chase after your dreams. That feeling is there for a reason; go after it and get it.

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About the Author: Kelsey Mangan

Kelsey Mangan is a registered nurse, who graduated from Linfield College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and minor in education. She is a health and wellness advocate, writer, wife, and a new mama to baby Paisley. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, spending time with friends and family, finding binge-worthy shows on Netflix, and snuggling with her sweet daughter.

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