I've wanted to be a nurse since I was 13 years old. I was a bit of a troublemaker; my sister worked at a nursing home, and my dad decided it would be good if I volunteered there. He realized this would keep because my sister could keep an eye on me. In retrospect, this is the best thing that could've happened to me. I fell in love with nursing care and proceeded to get my CNA license at the age of 16. I worked summers at that nursing home from the summer of 1994 to 1999. It was amazing to make such a difference in people's lives by being there and ensuring that a smiling face met their daily needs.
I continued working in various nursing homes until I decided to join the military at 20 in 2001. I joined as a medic and worked to become a nurse when I was gravely injured. In the spring of 2002, I was in an accident involving two military vehicles. I was standing in between two trucks when I was inadvertently smashed between these two trucks. I lost my spleen, one of my kidneys, and half of my pancreas shattered my left wrist, and had to have my inferior vena cava reattached. I fought with the army trying to prove that, even broken, I could still perform my duties. However, almost one year to the day of my accent, I left the military via medical discharge. I never received my nursing degree to these injuries causing me to be unable to deploy. I went the military, renewed my CNA, and got back to work taking care of people.
I applied for the VA to provide support and fund my education. In those days, the military did not recognize internal injuries as rateable, meaning that the medically review board could not retire me from the army. This enabled me to utilize the VA system instead of the military services. VA agreed to pay for my education, but a non-medical professional convinced me that due to my injuries, I would never be able to be a nurse because the loss of my spleen made me somewhat immune compromised and that my wrist would prevent me from lifting heavy patients. I was 23 years old and believed him. I was educated in the paralegal program and received an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal degree. I stayed home with my children for a few years before getting a job with a local personal injury attorney. My medical background was a tremendous asset to their firm. I was there for two years. But try as I might, I just was not happy. I wanted to heal people through their illness and recovery, not just make sure they received a monetary settlement for those injuries.
I left the law office and returned to work as a CNA in a local nursing home. I found out that I was able to provide care for my patien...