"I wish I had made my decision about nursing while I was in high school, so my focus could have been in the sciences."

Role Model Photo Dianne deMoville

Health Field: Registered Nurse

Number of years in the profession:
28 year

Years in College: 7 years

Professional Credentials:
RN-BC

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I entered college as an undeclared major, having no idea about a career path. I met my future husband the first day of class and we were married exactly one year later. I worked as a clerk typist while he went to the University of Texas and completed his Master's degree. While working as a clerk typist, I kept thinking "there has to be more to life than this." A friend of mine was finishing her degree in nursing and talked to me about this profession. It sounded so wonderful to get to work directly with people rather than pushing papers around. At that time I made up my mind to pursue nursing. Once my husband completed his degree, he only applied to universities with a nursing program so I could pursue my goal.

What other careers did you consider?
During high school I was a member of the Future Teachers of America organization. I thought about that as a career. I also considered business administration as my mother was a legal secretary and her degree was in business.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
At the time I made my choice to become a nurse, I was very active in a religious organization. The desire to help others was a very strong calling at the time. I wanted to do something that would make a difference in someone's life.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
I wish I had made my decision about nursing while I was in high school, so my focus could have been in the sciences. My high school electives centered around business skills, such as typing, speech, and language. My first year of college was pretty much wasted as well. I was still taking courses geared towards a degree in the humanities. Once I decided on nursing, I had to go back and pick up all the science classes I needed. Only 16 or so of my first year college credits counted towards my nursing degree. I did work a few hours a week while going to nursing school. However, I worked in the university library rather than a hospital. Not having hospital experience put me at a disadvantage once I began my first nursing job.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
One of my biggest concerns about nursing was whether I could stand the sight of blood, and dealing with other human body fluids and tissues. I didn't want to waste 4 years of college and then find out I couldn't deal with such things. I remember visiting with one of my nursing counselors about this and she helped to allay my fears. As it turned out, this was never an issue for me. My family could not understand why I wanted to go into nursing. They couldn't understand why I would choose a career where you would be on your feet all day. To be honest, this had never occured to me. It has not been a problem, and I think their concerns stemmed from a lack of knowledge of the job.

How did you overcome these challenges?
Dealing with the blood and body fluids encountered in a health care career became less of an issue once I realized that we ALWAYS wear personal protective equipment. Having gloves and gowns and face masks between you and the blood makes it easy to deal with. You are never directly touching anything that might be infectious or icky. Dealing with family was a little more difficult. I think I was so determined to show them that this was a valued career, that I wasn't going to let a comment like that stand in my way. As it turns out, being on your feet and active all day is more healthy than a sedentary job anyway.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?
Yes

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training? Yes


Present Career as a Registered Nurse


Describe an average work day for you.
I only worked one or two semesters while I was going to school. I worked so few hours that it didn't interfere with my studies or classes. Like I mentioned above, the part time job I chose didn't help prepare me for the work in a hospital. It would have made more sense for me to work as a nurse aide or hospital unit secretary. At least that way, I would have learned the routine of a hospital.

How many hours do you work in an average week?
40-50

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
I work in an acute care hospital which is licensed for 393 patient beds, though our patient census typically runs around 150. I am the manager of the education department. I get to use my nursing background in a teaching role. My department conducts general orientation for all new employees, healthcare provider orientation and nursing orientation. We provide continuing education opportunities for the doctors, nurses, social workers, and other clinical employees. Our department is a training center for CPR classes as well as advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), neonatal resuscitation program (NRP), and other clinical courses. We coordinate childbirth classes and other community classes geared towards the new family. The diabetes outpatient education program resides in our department.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
For anyone considering becoming an educator in healthcare, you must have a desire to learn. Technology and research keeps healthcare in a constant state of change. Educators are needed to help keep healthcare professionals abreast of the latest trends in patient care and treatment. Healthcare educators are front runners in facilitating this type of learning in hospitals and clinics. An educator should be prepared to obtain advanced degrees. A Master's degree is considered entry level into this profession and many places are expecting a Ph.D.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love collaborating with my fellow educators to develop programs that are meaningful and helpful to the hospital employees. We determine staff needs by many different methods. It is fun to identify learning gaps through surveys, performance improvement projects, tracer rounds, and by talking with the employees. Once we know where the learning gaps are, we can develop programs to get the associates up to speed in that area. The real winners in this process are our patients. When the employees know their job and know what to do for a patient, we have succeeded. This is an ongoing challenge as we get new equipment, adopt a new procedure or change our practice in order to meet the guidelines of a regulatory agency.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
Start with science classes in high school. Take as many science classes as you can and keep your grades up. Though there is a shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals, there is also limited spaces in the programs in universities. You will need to have good grades to gain acceptance into the program. If you do take a job while going to school, take one in the environment you plan to work after graduation. The more you know about that environment, the better you will be able to perform in your new job.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Since I actually became a teacher with a nursing background, it is difficult to say. I realized that my love was with teaching, not being a bedside nurse. That being said, I don't know if I would have ever had the opportunities in education if I didn't have my RN. Being a RN opens many doors for a person. The need for RNs is so great that a RN can go anywhere and find employment. Having that flexibility is an incredible asset.

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
The BC following my RN stands for board certified. I have my certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Nursing Professional Development. I think I was more proud of obtaining my certification than I was when I passed by state licensing exam. I received my certification in nursing professional development during the first year that it was offered.

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