Monday, April 28, 2008

On becoming a (male) nurse

For a while now, I've been sending out emails to my friends about my journey of becoming a nurse. I figure I might as well just put it all out there to the rest of the universe. I thought it would be nice to hear from other nursing students as well as nurses. I guess I'll begin with a bit about me and how I came to be a nursing student.

Nursing will mark my third major career change. I spent over 12 years working in high tech as a technician, engineer, and technical writer. During that stint, I started volunteering as a paraprofessional counselor working with children living in alcoholic homes. I fell in love with that work, and returned to school (at night) to become a child therapist. I decided not to pursue that, but in 1999, finally left what for me was the meaningless world of high tech. I joined a non-profit called Challenge Day ( as a workshop leader and program developer. After a few years, I was burning out on so much travel, and decided to become a teacher.

I left Challenge Day in 2002 and returned to school to get my teaching credential. The summer after receiving my credential, and before what was to be my first year of teaching, I traveled to Guatemala with a friend to learn some Spanish and take a much needed vacation. While there, I fell in love with the country, and decided to return as a volunteer and (struggling) Spanish student. I lived in the city of Quetzaltenango (Xela) for eight months, and worked as a teacher's aide in a special school that served children who, because they worked in the markets, could not attend public school. It was an amazing experience and, while I did not become fluent in Spanish, caused me to become a 5th grade teacher instead of a middle school teacher as I had originally planned. I returned to the states in 2004 to begin my career as a 5th grade teacher.

Unfortunately, my personal agenda for achieving social transformation in the classroom did not exactly align with the California public school agenda of preparing kids for standardized testing. So, after three years of both frustration and joy, I decided to leave teaching.

And here I am. Writing my first-ever blog entry on the second day of the fall semester of my year of completing my prereq's for nursing school. I'm writing this from the staff room of Children's Hospital Oakland, where I volunteer in the Emergency Department. Not sure what else to share right now, so I'll end with that.

Stay tuned!