"When I was in high school, we were able to go to a hospital that had a NICU and look at the premature babies and watch the nurses care for them. I thought at that time, it would be great if I could do that."

Role Model Photo Valerie Hohenshell

Health Field: Registered Nurse

Number of years in the profession:
9 year

Years in College: 3 years

Professional Credentials:
Registered Nurse

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
When I was in high school we were able to go to a hospital that had a NICU and look at the premature babies and watch the nurses care for them. I thought at that time it would be great if I could do that job.

What other careers did you consider?
Radiology was what I had originally signed up to do in school.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
When my daughter was around a year old she began having lots of infection and colds. The doctor at the time thought she might have leukemia and ran lots of tests and we saw lots of doctors. During that time we ran into many great nurses and a few not so great nurses. When she was four and doing better but still had minor medical problems that I was unable to afford financially I went back to school and told myself that I would become a nurse and be able to comfort family members as well as patients.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
I took child and family development in high school. In that class the teacher provided lots of hands on projects that encouraged learning in medical professions.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
My biggest challenge was financially. I am married and at the time had 2 children to support. The other obstacle that I did not forsee was that my mother and brothers felt like I was not really going to college because I was attending community college. More than anything it aggravated me because the classes I was taking contained the same information and were just as hard as the University courses.

How did you overcome these challenges?
For the financial burden I did apply for the Pell grant and because I had 2 children I qualified and received enough money to cover the cost of tuition and books. I also studied hard and applied myself and recieved an acedemic scholarship for nursing school. As for my family I relied on my husband for support because he would come home and see me spread out with 4 books for one class and knew how difficult it was. He was very supportive and work 2 jobs while I was in school.

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

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.
Now I am the Hospital Educator. I come in at 8am and work till 5pm. During the day my duties include patient education, assisting nurses with activities they need assistance or training in, providing extra help in departments that are busy and need help, I teach CPR every 3 months, and organize various classes for the hospital nurses.

How many hours do you work in an average week?

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
I work in a rural hospital with 34 beds. We provide emergency care, OB services, ICU, Medical floor, and pediatrics.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
As a nurse you need to be organized, compassionate, committed, caring, and ethical.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Recognizing that something is wrong with a patient and using interventions to help that patient get better. And even though it is hard when we have patients who are dying assisting families in their time of need and providing comfort for them and their loved ones.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
Work hard, study hard and don't give up. As a nurse I look back on my education in nursing school as a foundation. They provide the basic tools to begin as a nurse. And never quit learning. I learn something everyday either by asking the doctor about a procedure or disease process or reading nursing journals.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Yes, I can't think of anything else I would want to do.

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
I am in the process of obtaining my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing and will then continue on for my Master's Degree.

View Other Professionals in this Field
deMoville  | Welch  | McAdams  | Gately  | Hudson  | Vela  | Bordelon  | Hohenshell  | Deal  | Woody  |
Are you a current health professional?
Click here to share your experience and advice with us