As she approaches a half century as a nurse, Paula Gillette, MSN, RN, CENP, shares her thoughts along the path, from being a nursing student through her many roles. As she looks back on her journey, Paula exclaims―Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
It has been 45 years since I started my nursing career. Nursing was not my original career choice, and there were many times throughout my early nursing education when I considered other options. I am very grateful that I made the decision to continue and can attest that this has been a worthwhile path, with a journey that has been filled with more opportunities than I could have imagined as an 18 year old nursing student.
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ― C. JoyBell C., writer & poet
The journey in nursing has taken me through many landscapes with rich clinical experiences and treasured relationships that sustain my passion for this profession. The ability to perform in a variety of capacities makes nursing a source of great satisfaction and feeds the passion to keep growing and learning. I have had the good fortune to care for patients through all stages along the continuum, from the moment they are born, through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and in providing support and comfort at the end of life. My roles have spanned many disciplines including clinical care, research, advanced practice, and leadership.
As a leader, I have found the greatest rewards in the mentoring and coaching role, promoting the ideals of nursing as key influencers in collaborative health care practice. Nurses bring the voice of the patient and represent their needs in a profound way. I think this is the essence of nursing as both an art and a science.It is what keeps me energized, motivated, and inspired to pursue the next passage of the journey.