From Patient to Nurse: Finding a Passion for Nursing

By Leslie Minjarez

team or nurses in a huddle

I decided to pursue a career in healthcare in high school. My favorite classes had always been math, chemistry and biology but during my senior year I got mononucleosis and ended up in the hospital for a week. While there this incredible nurse took care of me. She was pretty, wore a pink uniform and was always so nice to me, making me feel better every time she came to check on me. I knew then that I wanted to become a nurse.

Challenges and Rewards

I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program right out of high school. When I finished my BSN, my plan was to enroll in a master’s program but I was not sure what I wanted to do. I loved working with cancer patients at the time and immediately began to work on a difficult unit with patients experiencing complex medical problems.

Soon after that, I moved to Arizona and immediately took a position on an oncology floor. My nurse manager soon asked me to consider a relief chair nurse position. Within a year, I was the full-time charge nurse. This began my interest in leadership and mentoring others.

Through the next several years I found myself in roles with increased responsibility and scope. I realized that my passion was nursing leadership and knew that if I wanted to continue my career, I would need to go back to school.

Within three years of starting my MBA, I became a chief nursing officer and pregnant with my second son. It was very difficult to be in school while pregnant and in a high-profile position; however, I was part of an incredible leadership team that was eager to lift me up and give me a hand .

The skills I learned afforded me the ability to see the “big picture”. The most rewarding experience I had in my leadership role was being able to make a difference in my organization, improve patient outcomes, and be part of mentoring others.

Nursing at GCU

I have been with GCU for about 12 years now. I brought the RN to BSN and BSN to MSN programs to my organization, knowing anything associated with GCU would be of high quality. As an adjunct faculty member, I consistently see the incredible support that is provided to students who seek a degree at GCU.

I have worked in other learning institutions, but GCU is, by far, the best. The leadership is excellent. I am blessed to be surrounded by a supportive staff that is knowledgeable and responsive. As an instructor, I am trusted to use my judgment, skills and expertise, but most importantly, I am given the opportunity to learn from excellent professionals in my classroom.

Advice for Nurses

If you are considering a BSN, I advise you to start as soon as possible. Waiting for a better time never seems to come around. I also encourage you to be sure to check out your organization’s benefits for tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment.

Advice for Nursing Students

The most important lessons I hope to impart on students who take my courses are:

  • You are your patient’s best advocate.  Never forget that role and never be afraid to ask questions. Always question the practice of, “this is the way we have always done it.”
  • As a professional nurse, your best resource is your peer group. Look for every opportunity to mentor, collaborate, serve and lead those around you.
  • Finally, never stop learning and always invest in yourself.

GCU is proud of the achievements of our faculty, students and alumni. To learn more about Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.