Missionary Daughter Becomes Nurse and Shares Her Wisdom

How long have you been a nurse and what areas of nursing did you work in? I have been a RN for 35 yrs. After passing boards I started out in an intensive care burn unit at the University of N. Carolina in Chapel Hill with a great crew of people to work with and a tremendous learning experience. Next was a short time in a CCU before taking time off to have a baby. Twenty two years out of the thirty five have been in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (my greatest love). Currently working in a postpartum /L&D/Level II nursery unit.

 Your mother was a Nurse and your Father was a Physician and took the children to Africa. Your father delivered you at the hospital in Africa. What was it like growing up with humanitarian medical parents? Did that influence your path in Nursing?  My parents left for Africa with two small children and returned 15 yrs. later with six of us. The country of Rwanda was home for them most of those fifteen years. They started out living in a cow dung hut before building a brick home. They had both come from very comfortable upbringings but wanted to serve as missionaries and help those without the resources we were able to enjoy in America. They also had a great sense of adventure. Being the last of the six children I was still young upon our return to the United States. My father took a second specialty in cardiothoracic surgery and we returned to the mission field several years later, this time to Korea. My high school years were spent in a boarding school in Singapore. I would return home to Korea for Christmas and summer vacations. What a great way to learn about the world and various cultures. Being in a medical family and getting to tag along and watch surgeries definitely influenced my decision to go into nursing.

Carol and her whole family in Rwanda, Africa

Carol and her whole family in Rwanda, Africa

What do you love most about nursing?

Four things come to mind. 

1. I appreciate the flexibility nursing provides. You can change things up depending on what your current family needs are. I have been able to take time off to travel, spend time with a newborn, go to school and still be able to find plenty of work upon my return.

2. Love the camaraderie of working with a team

3. Find satisfaction from the one-on-one with a patient and finding a way to teach and make a difference in a patient’s life

4. I get to learn something new every day

Tell me what you consider the biggest challenges or concerns about nursing today. I have seen and experienced unwelcoming behavior among nurses, a type of hazing of the new person, which I find deplorable. How much better to train up new staff in a friendly environment where people are free to share ideas and feel free to ask questions and be treated respectfully.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?  Saying yes to too many things other people want you to do and forgetting to say yes to yourself. You wake up and realize you are further away from your goals instead of closer to them.

What brings you back into balance? Having goals written down and measuring your decisions against what they are helps me keep in focus how I really should be spending my time. I ask myself, "what can I do today for my mind, my body, my spirit, my relationships, my creativity". It helps me stay focused. Being out of doors in nature always has a freeing effect, unless it is 100 degrees out!

 Tell me about your most favorite nursing job and why.  Working in the NICU. Neonatal nurses are the best. The closeness of the crew and getting to know the families so well were such a blessing

What advice would you give to new grads starting out?  CLearn to have those difficult conversations (with co-workers, doctors, patients or partners). Don't just push them under the rug. Once you figure out how to work through things with people it helps you live a more gracious life - one where you can forgive yourself and others.

Carol and her Dad at 97yo, a few weeks before he died.

Carol and her Dad at 97yo, a few weeks before he died.