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This site is for student nurses or nurses starting out. Letters to a Young Nurse are blog posts written like letters to help you find your way and make your journey as a nurse less difficult. 


Know who you are by knowing who you came from.

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

My mother and paternal grandmother were nurses. I did not grow up wanting to be a nurse because I never thought I could be as great a nurse as them. My mother worked in a small community hospital and my grandmother cared for a wealthy businessman in his home next door to our house. Both of these women were strong and dominant role models who cared deeply about nursing and did their best to increase its reputation and to model the good parts of nursing to generations behind them. I wanted to be a writer but found my way to nursing after service in the US Army. While enlisted I saw all of the things that I couldn’t do and all of the exciting and fun things that the nurses did in the Army hospital where I was stationed for four years. So, I left to pursue a new dream of nursing. And now I am pursuing my dream of writing by sharing these letters with you.

Recently I was accused of being racist. If it wasn't so hurtful, I would laugh. I come from decedents on my father's side who fought for the South and from decedents on my mother's side in the North who fought to free the slaves. I listened to my grandmother accuse the one black child in our neighborhood of breaking her garden Gnome. His only crime was he was not white. My mother refused to be in the same room with my grandmother, but she allowed us to spend the weekends with her. My brothers and I stood in the middle trying not to take sides. Because of those years I have never had a racist thought. In fact, I think African American or Black women are beautiful and seem to never age. Does that make me racist?

I am the daughter of suffragettes and rebels who refused to accept the status quo. I am the daughter of healers and miracle workers. I stand on the shoulders of fearless women who risked everything to make a difference in the world. These women help me get out of bed every morning and care amidst the turmoil and chaos of other people's problems. I do not deny that I am part of white privilege. I was able to graduate from high school and go to college three times. I did not grow up in poverty and had many advantages from my background. But no one handed me my degrees. I worked hard to get where I am at today. I know that my mother gave me courage and a fierce need to take care of others. My grandmother gave me a desire to make my acre plot a little brighter, lighter and sunny. She could throw seeds in a field and feed a village in a month. I have tried to find a balance between my mother's and grandmother's beliefs. Bottom line is I am NOT a racist.

Whose shoulders are you standing on? Who gives you inspiration to continue on your quest? Studying all night, working all day, eat, study, repeat. Remember how hard you are working to reach your goal. Every time you want to give up think of that goal. Do not let anyone get in your way of reaching that goal. Not only is nursing physically hard but it is emotionally and mentally hard. But don't give up, keep showing up and be part of the solution for this fractured world.

Are you brave enough to care? What small things can you do in your family, in your neighborhood, in your town, in your job to make the world a better place? As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. What small changes can you make in healthcare, in nursing today that will reverberate for years to come? Let me know, I would love to hear what you are doing.

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