My Nursing Career
An interview with Cynthia E., APN, May, 2009

Cynthia is an APN working at an internal medicine, multi-provider practice in Reno, NV.

Cynthia, what peaked your interest in nursing?

Well, ever since I was a young girl I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to work with people and help them feel better. I pursued a pre-med education in college. At that time the medical schools were going through a phase where they were primarily focused on recruiting those with GPA's of 3.9 and higher. They basically tossed you out of the candidate pool if you had anything less, even if you had good MCAT scores. I did not have a GPA higher than 3.9 and became very discouraged. Looking back, I guess it was a lack of self-confidence and I ended up not even applying to medical school. I went to the counseling office to discuss where I should take my education and what types of careers are out there in the health field. My counselor talked to me about nursing as a career, the flexibility, pay and shortage of nurses in the country. She put me in contact with a friend of hers at the nursing program on campus and after speaking with her more about nursing career options and the contact I would have with patients as an registered nurse I was sold on becoming a nurse. It was the closest thing, for me, to becoming a doctor. I was fortunate to be able to apply much of my pre-med course credit to the BSN program.

You earned your BSN, became a registered nurse, then what?

I decided to work in a hospital setting and really enjoyed the flexible hours I had and the interaction with patients as well as with colleagues on the floor. After 6 years working in the hospital I was ready for a career change. I had become burned out and very over-worked. I started thinking about a second career or career change of some sort, then I found out that the hospital I was working for offered tuition reimbursement for employees that wanted to go back to school and earn an advanced degree. I took advantage of the offer and headed back to school to get my master's degree in nursing. I continued working in my position while earning my degree.

Why did you choose to earn a Master's Degree in Nursing?

I knew that nurse practitioners had to hold a master's degree, at that time. I had done a lot of research on nursing career change and nursing career options and found that as an advanced practice nurse I would earn a lot more money than some of the other options and most importantly I would be providing patient care in almost the same way a medical doctor would. This was as close as I was going to get to the dreams of becoming a doctor I had as a child.

Tell me about being an APN.

I have worked in many different settings around Northern Nevada and have learned a lot about medicine and treating patients over the last 8 years. I feel that I have the best job in the world. I now have an established base of patients where I am currently practicing, the majority of them with diabetes. I am faced with new challenges everyday I go into work. I make my patients healthier and that is what I am here for. I can't imagine it any other way.

Even if you could snap your fingers and become a doctor?

No way! They have way too much in addition to treating patients, like billing, finances, managed care contracts and a lot of other business stuff that I don't have to deal with. I went to school and became a nurse to make people feel better or get healthy and that's what I do everyday. It's what I am passionate about.

Thank you for your time today Cynthia.

Thank you! I love sharing what I do and I hope my story will help more people become involved in the nursing profession.

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