Taylor BSN, RN

Although racial/ethnic minorities make up ~34% of the US population, they only represent ~25% (11.5% Black, 6.1% Latino, 7.3% Asian) of the nursing workforce, as of 2016. 👩🏽‍⚕️👩🏾‍⚕️👩🏿‍⚕️

Diversity among nurses is crucial for providing culturally competent care and in turn, improving health outcomes. We can also help ALL of our coworkers become more culturally aware. One of my goals is to inspire more minorities to choose nursing in order to have a workforce more representative of the US. Having someone take care of you who looks like you, has a similar culture, may speak your language, and understands you can save lives. Every few weeks I’ll feature a fellow minority to share our unique stories.

“When I began at the University of Michigan, I was undecided on what I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in the medical field but definitely not a physician. During freshman year, I was in a Health Science Scholars Program, where I researched multiple careers, listened to numerous speakers, and shadowed physicians but nothing sparked my interest. My grandmother, who is a nurse, told me to research the field and ironically my roommate was in the nursing program. I began doing my research and realized the endless possibilities in nursing. I immediately knew I wanted to be a nurse practitioner working as a midwife (that changed once I did my clinical lol). I decided to apply but was discouraged after listening to other applicants talk about the extra science pre-reqs they had while I only had the minimum. I was also discouraged by my counselor because she told me the nursing program rarely admits students of color. With everything against me, I took a leap and applied. I was admitted into the nursing program at the end of my sophomore year through their RN-BSN sophomore-transfer program. I was excited and a little upset because this meant I would have to do an extra year of undergrad (which means nothing now).

Going through nursing school was tough being 1 of the 7 African American females in a class of 180 students. I believe this increased my drive to exceed. I worked as a nurse tech in the PICU at St. John during my last year of nursing school. I graduated in April 2017 with a 3.7 and passed my NCLEX with 75 questions. Job searching fortunately was fairly easy. I got offered 4 pediatric nursing positions after graduation. These included: PICU at St. John, DMC Children’s ER, Mott Children’s as float nurse, and Beaumont Children’s. I decided to choose Beaumont Children’s because of location convenience and wanting to begin my career on a general pediatric floor, so I could become more familiar with common childhood illnesses and how they are treated.

My interest to specialize in pediatric nursing started while in nursing school. During my pediatric clinical rotation, I gained great insight into what it meant to care for children. I was very intrigued about how passionate the nurses were compared to those in adult nursing. They had to play a unique role in not only supporting their young patients, but also comforting families while explaining patient conditions and providing emotional support. Initially, I couldn’t imagine having the responsibility of facing the family of a seriously ill child and standing with strength enough to not only instruct them on how to best care for their child, but to also help build their faith in the face of, in some cases, a discouraging prognosis. The realization about the innate resilience of children solidified my decision to specialize in pediatric nursing.  It helped me not only feel more comfortable and confident working with the pediatric population compared to adults, it also affected the way I presented while caring for my patients. I became more confident in my ability to encourage families because I began to truly believe in the strength of children to promote healing.

After working for 2.5 years in pediatrics, I have gained so much insight into what it means to be a nurse. I have learned that it takes great responsibility, tenacity, and accountability to care for the life of another. After working for 1 year, I decided to go back to school to get my master’s as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. This desire was matured through my previous and current work environment. I have passion to work in underserved communities to promote health and prevent/manage childhood illnesses. Working in the city of Detroit and surrounding suburbs has allowed me to see the difference in access to healthcare and health education. I understand that there is a lack of support and opportunity, which negatively affects the health of these communities. This drove my desire to do more and increased my inclination for continuing education among this patient demographic. Working as a CPNP-PC, I will be able to make choices that I believe will benefit the community and turn my advocacy into action. After completing my education, I plan to work in an underserved community providing outreach and educational programs either in clinics or school-based settings. Long term, I plan to participate in local legislative affairs relating to children’s health policy and reform.

Sadly, there is still a lack of minorities in the field. I see this every day at my job. I try to encourage young black girls to keep pursuing this career because although it can be challenging, having minorities in nursing allows for better health outcomes of underrepresented patient populations.”

~Taylor BSN, RN

Nursing Failures

Nursing Failures

Soo how did I end up getting a job I love so much? Looking back, it all started from several events that I considered failures. Way before graduation, I was already looking up NP schools and pediatric programs. It was my end goal and I eagerly (mostly naively) wanted to start as soon as possible. I applied to an acute care pediatric NP Master’s program in December of my senior year. I attended one other informational session, but did I end up only applying to one school? Yes…Probably wouldn’t recommend it if you want to start right away. However, I was stubborn and slightly cockier than I should have been at the time. I’ll have another post later on for how to stand out as a candidate!

In January, I started my senior clinical in the PICU. While it was almost entirely luck that I got this placement, it was the first crucial step of my journey. At the end of January, I was notified about a grad school admission interview to be held in early February. I thought it went well. I vividly remember my dad taking me and going to Angelo’s afterwards to celebrate. I was also doing everything possible to get my first nursing job and went to the hospital career fair in March. At the end of March, I was notified that I was wait listed once again. All I could do was work on getting hired and wait some more. After clinical was over in April, I emailed the PICU nursing supervisor, who I came to know, about a potential job opportunity following graduation. She requested my resume and the process started from there. I spent most of April applying to new grad positions and the finally found out I was admitted to my dream grad program. Then came graduation and I eventually took the NCLEX on June 24. This was a lot later than many of my peers and I unfortunately got all 265 questions. It was awful and I cried the whole day…will have a post later on about how to pass.

On my birthday (July 17), I got my official offer email for a PICU new grad position to begin in early August. Again, this was later than many of my peers. but I was willing to wait as long as possible to get a job I truly wanted. It is hard to get a new grad job in pediatrics unless you have connections such as being a tech on a peds floor. I started orientation, was making new friends, and then reality hit. I started class in early September and together with ICU orientation, I started to crumble. Emotionally and physically, I was spent. I had never been a nurse before, let alone an ICU nurse taking care of critically ill children. I was a nursing aid (patient care assistant to be exact) during my senior year, but it was in adult oncology and hardly prepared me. I started to fail at both work and school. I cried every day. I began to think I was so dumb because I wasn’t doing well in orientation and barely passed my first few exams.

I had several meetings at work about my slow progress and along with some family issues, made the decision to drop out of my dream program in early October. Not only was I devasted and embarrassed, but I then began struggling more at work. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt alone and ashamed. I worked too hard to not be in grad school and to be getting fired from my first job. Failure? Yeah, I thought so. All around I was a failure. I couldn’t stop crying when the manager told me I wasn’t going to continue with orientation. I thought I would never work in pediatrics again…Fortunately, since she thought I was a “good enough” nurse (coupled with her kindness), she helped me to get another job at the children’s hospital and told me to reapply in two years. I ended up starting my dream job on a pediatric general care floor in November, where I still am, and where I have met some amazing people. It was a 40-hour night position that allowed me to gain a strong foundation as a nurse. I restarted the grad program (and at this point switched to the DNP option) the following fall. My current nursing manager is also incredible and allowed me to decrease my hours to 28 once I started school.

That leads me to the moral of the story that the “sun will rise in the morning” Despite what I thought was a double failure, it ended up being what was best for me. If you don’t pass the NCLEX on the first try, don’t get into a grad program right away, get rejected from job interviews, or get fired from your first job like me, don’t give up. Everything that happens to you makes you who you are. As cliché as it is, everything happens for a reason. Just remember, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” -Nelson Mandela