Growing up, I knew I wanted to become a nurse. I imagined myself working in a hospital and taking care of people at the bedside. I could see myself wearing the starched white uniform and old-fashioned nursing cap that were shown on the now older television shows. I knew that it would be a tough battle to become a nurse. I had several strikes against me accomplishing my dreams. Firstly, I did not personally know anyone that was a nurse. Having a role model can be a powerful tool in helping you visualize your dreams. Secondly, I was not great in math or science. In fact, my high school counselor told me that because of my grades, I would never become a nurse and that I should choose another career path. The third strike against my becoming a nurse was that I am from a very rural and impoverished background. None of my family members had ever gone to college and both of my parents only had an elementary school education. Finally, I am a Black female. Although Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first Black female to graduate from a nursing program in 1878, the field of nursing remains predominantly white.
According to Schunr (2020), there are approximately 4 million Registered Nurses (RNs) in the US. The statistics demonstrate that 7.8% of RNs self-identified as being Black or African American (non-Hispanic); 5.2% are Asian; 10.2% are Hispanic; 2.7% categorize themselves as two or more races; and 0.3% are American Indian or Alaskan Native. According to the statistics 73.3% of RN’s are White. As my high school counselor mentioned the odds were definitely against my becoming a nurse! Fortunately, I was born with tenacity and the unmitigated audacity to refuse to give up!
You may have come to St Andrews with various background limitations and past voices repeating in your head that you will never accomplish your dreams, but you have made it this far. Your dreams are yours to achieve. You may feel that you are not capable of getting that “B” in Chemistry, Anatomy, and Microbiology, but I encourage you to push forward. You may have to meet with your science faculty after class, or visit the tutoring center (multiple times), or even take a class again. Sometimes the pathway is full of obstacles but keep moving. If you push past those negative voices and limitations, you can achieve your dreams, like I did. Although, my high school counselor is no longer on this earth, I wish she could hear me loudly proclaim that I Am A Nurse. I beat all of the seemingly insurmountable odds and I am the Chief Nursing Officer for the SAU nursing program. However, your story began, the ending is yours to write.
If You Dream It! You Can Achieve It!
Dorothy Miller, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN, CNE
Department Chair, Health Sciences
Program Chair, Nursing
St. Andrews University (A Branch of Webber International University)
Kays, H. (2022). Breaking barriers: A history of Mary Eliza Mahoney. Retrieved https://www.aanp.org/news-feed/breaking-barriers-a-history-of-mary-eliza-mahoney
Schnur, M. (2020). U.S. Nurses in 2020: Who we are and where we work. Retrieved https://www.nursingcenter.com/ncblog/may-2020/u-s-nurses-in-2020