I was born and raised in the inner city of Philadelphia. I am thankful for a mother that had the insight and vision to know that she had to get me out of the “hood”. I am a graduate of Masterman Middle and High School. I received a great education there and credit the foundation of my success to my mother and the faculty there. I love reading, on average I read about two books a week. I love to learn about different cultures and reading various styles of writing. I read a lot of medical journals because I am fascinating by the advancements in healthcare particularly in cancer research. One obstacle that I overcame was growing up in a single-parent home in a bad neighborhood that could have easily influenced me to live my life a different way. But because I had God watching over me and surrounding me with good people I made a lot of right decisions and the outweighed the bad ones that I’ve made over the years. LOL
Is there a quote that you live by? Please tell us why.
“Attitude determines Altitude” Having a positive outlook usually makes it easier to overcome obstacles and dreams seem more attainable. Negativity gets you nowhere but in a rut.
Nurses: Why did you want to become a nurse?
Honestly, when I was younger I wanted to be a nurse just because my aunt was a nurse and I admired and respected her. However, as I got older I became interested in the world of medicine. I thought I wanted to major in biology or chemistry and was accepted into the Pre-med program at my university. I soon realized that my compassion and patience was needed at the bedside and I needed to be able to spend more time with patients and their families. I wanted to comfort the sick and be an advocate for patients that needed me. I didn’t just want to treat the illness I wanted to care for the patient holistically.
Nurses: What is your favorite part of the job?
It is never a boring moment. Healthcare is constantly changing and the opportunities for nurses are endless. There are so many different areas of nursing to explore. For example, you can be a research nurse, an educator, a floor nurse, a nurse administrator, a school nurse, a legal nurse consultant, an occupational health, a psychiatric nurse, and the list goes on and on.
Nurses: Why did you choose (ER, OR, ICU, LTC, FNP, or other specialty area of nursing)?
I am a certified Oncology Nurse. I love caring for cancer patients. Cancer research is fascinating. It is a specialty are that requires a lot of commitment, patience, and psychosocial skills. In oncology you are not just treating the patient you are treating their loved ones as well and helping them through one of the toughest journeys of their lives.
Nurses: How long did you go to school? What was your favorite or toughest subject?
I went to school for 5 years. My 1st year of college I was in the pre-med program before I applied to and was granted admission into the Nursing program. I completed a 4 yr program and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and I am currently enrolled in a graduate nursing program.
Nurses: How did you finance your education? Did you get tuition reimbursement?
I had scholarships, and financial aid. The 1st hospital where I was employed upon graduating offered tuition reimbursement.
Nurses: How do you manage your time with your family and job?
It is hard especially with a very active 2 yr old in the home. Basically I prioritize, and stick to a tight schedule. I dedicate all of my time to my daughter, my husband, my stepson, church, and work. I often forget to take time out for myself.
Nurses: What is the biggest drawback of being a nurse?
Lack of respect. A lot of people assume that nurses want to be doctors, when they are actually two different disciplines totally. Being a nurse is not the step to take before becoming a doctor. Unfortunately a lot of my fellow nurses are to blame for the lack of respect for the profession. It frustrates me when some nurse act unprofessionally and lack competence. It makes it hard on those that take our careers seriously. Another drawback is healthcare is a 24/7 job. Sometimes the hours are tedious, but it is a very rewarding career.
Nurses and Nursing Students: What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to become a nurse or attend nursing school?
Pray and think about your decision long and hard. It is definitely not something to do just for the money. Please make sure your heart is in it. If not you will get burnt out very easily. Nursing is not easy, and to be an excellent nurse it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. Try to find a nursing mentor. Follow them around at their job, ask questions, ask what they like and dislike about their jobs. Stay focused, organized, and informed. When the opportunity presents join your local nurse’s association and participate in community activities. Explore different areas of nursing to find your niche.
© 2012, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.