Dorothy Hamilton, PhD(c), MSN, RN, APRN-CNP, ACNP-BC, CNE, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Cleveland State University School of Nursing. She shares her thoughts on why nursing is such a special calling and why she has hope for the future.
Both wonderful happy memories as well as sad stories populated my professional nursing journey. All of these experiences, whether providing nursing care to patients or teaching nursing students, have made me a stronger and more determined nurse and reinforced my compassion for patients, their family members, and the nursing community.
When I was 8 years old, I visited my father at the hospital. It was then that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, and announced to my mother that I was going to be a nurse. I started my nursing career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and I have been returning to school for further education ever since.
As a nurse, I always strive to be the best person that I can be. That is my goal each day. I believe nursing is more than a job—nursing is a career and a calling. While the work is hard, the calling helps to lighten the load. I recall one person commenting how nice it must be to wake up every day to do work you enjoy. It is. That work is fulfilling since it makes a difference in people’s lives.
What advice would I give to someone interested in nursing? The essential qualities needed are compassion for people, a caring heart, and a desire to make a positive impact in the lives of others. That is not always easy. There are days when working 12-hour shifts is difficult. There are times when you just want the day to end. However, as a professional, I realize that I need to have the right attitude to deal with the difficulties that life brings.
As I reflect on my nursing career, I feel that I have made a major impact on my family and been a role model for students. I am proud to have two daughters who selected nursing as their careers. This provides further evidence that I have influenced their values. Their decision to continue in my footsteps as nurses brings me comfort and hope for the future.