No Career Plan to Business Owner

I would love to say, I knew from day one that I wanted to be a nurse educator but unfortunately that would be a lie.

After a series of dead end jobs and an on and off again relationship with college and more specifically nursing school, I began working at my local hospital as a nurses aid and unit secretary. It was a job with potential but only if I would attend college and see the education for its long term value. It took the impending birth of my son to make me realize I wanted a professional career. I returned to nursing school with new found enthusiasm. I completed my LPN by the time my son was born. I continued to work at the hospital, but only in the dual role of nurses’ aid and occasionally as an LPN.

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After a cross country move and a series of low paying jobs in spite of being an LPN, I realized the only way to continue to move forward and reach my goal of having a professional career was to return to school. After a long discussion with my wife, I applied to nursing school, this time for my RN. A few years earlier I had not seen myself as a nurse but the more I worked as an LPN, the more nursing knowledge I wanted. A BSN would provide me with that knowledge and I would finally have that professional career I had always wanted. However, as fate would have it, the week after I was accepted to Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) to pursue my BSN, we found out my wife was pregnant with our daughter. College is hard enough but my wife and I were not satisfied with hard. We had to make it down right difficult. We had to add a toddler and a baby to the mix. Little did I know at the time, deciding to attend nursing school at SEMO would be the beginning of my career as an educator. How? I was a nursing student at the time.

The answer is provided by my future employer. My wife and I and our 2 children moved to Delaware when I was hired as a new graduate nurse at Christiana Hospital in Newark. Being a large teaching hospital, we frequently had nursing students on my unit. By working with those students, I discovered the joy of teaching. My teaching must have been effective. Two of the nursing instructors, one from Del Tech Community College and one from the University of Delaware frequently encouraged me to pursue a career in nursing education.

I never took the encouragement to teach very seriously. I know I enjoyed being a nurse and working with the nursing students, but me, a teacher? Never! My education took me the next step at Christiana not into teaching but into management. I applied for the assistant nurse manager position. I knew that one day I wanted to be in management and working as an assistant manager would give me the necessary back ground. In this new role, I was working with students and mentoring new nurses. This new role made me realize that I did want to teach and I would not be satisfied until I did. In a very short span of 6 years, I went from a nurse aid to a BSN who was an assistant nurse manager of a 41 bed surgical telemetry unit. I was becoming successful in my chosen profession but the urge to teach was becoming insatiable.

I knew if I truly wanted to teach it would require graduate school. My quest to teach took me to South Carolina. I went to explore the opportunities at the Medical University of South Carolina. Although a beautiful state, South Carolina was not for me or for my family. The University of New Mexico had an online MSN with a Nursing Education concentration. After careful deliberation, my wife and I decided another move was in order. Although the degree could be earned online, I wanted the advantages of a large campus with a medical library. This turned out to be wise. I used the library frequently to complete the writing assignments, which seemed never ending in graduate school.

I have now been teaching for five years and I am a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE). I would not be where I am without perseverance and my education. Education has been the one constant in my success as an instructor, course coordinator and as a nurse. Fifteen years is a very brief time to progress from being a certified nursing assistant to a nurse with a Master’s degree teaching college.

However, my teaching career has not quenched my desire to teach. I have catapulted the desire to teach into a business. I own Manzano Education Services (MES) in Belen, New Mexico. MES is focused on providing education through tutoring, NCLEX Prep and health education within 35 miles of the Albuquerque, NM area. MES offers low cost one to one tutoring for nursing courses and for NCLEX prep. The emphasis is on low cost because many of the nursing students in the outlying areas around Albuquerque cannot afford the more expensive NCLEX prep courses. MES offers the student individual tutoring and NCLEX preparation at an affordable rate. The second focus is on health education. MES provides researched information about current medications and diseases. Additionally, MES provides nurses and students with education regarding their future educational plans.

I look back on where I began and where I am today, and I see a lot of road covered in a very short time. The vehicle that got me here is education and the fuel was the support from those around me.