I have been asked this question quite a few times during my current final clinical placement that I am practicing in. I cannot respond like some nursing students who say that nursing is in their family history and it is something they want to pursue in their own life. In my situation there is no single reason of why I decided to become a nurse as it took a range of life experiences to make that leap into nursing.
I must admit that in my family history there have not been any nurses to my knowledge as a lot of my family were more industrial in terms of qualifications and employment. My great great grandfather (on my father’s side) was a coal miner who immigrated to Australia from Scotland in 1881 to settle in Mount Kembla (NSW) and worked as a coal miner. My grandfather (on my father’s side) worked shift work in Newcastle (NSW) with various industrial companies. My father decided to become a fitter and turner and did his apprenticeship through Goninans & Company located at Broadmeadow in Newcastle (NSW).
On my mother’s side of the family it was fairly similar as my mother’s father was a qualified painter by trade and her mother did home duties as a wife. As you can see there is no connection to nursing at all within my family background.
I am not going to list all of my employment positions since leaving high school in 1976 as there have been quite a few. What I will say in summary is that I ventured into retail, State Rail Authority NSW, operated own business for 12 months, hotel-motel maintenance and then nursing. All the various employment positions I worked in prior to nursing mainly served a role in providing an income with a limited long-term outlook in life. On reflection it would have been between 2000 and 2002 that I was exploring what I could do in life that had some meaning and education involved that I could focus on for the rest of my life. Initially I was looking at the concept of doing some studies at the TAFE level perhaps in Information Technology or Business Management. I explored a whole range of jobs and even applied for some assistant management positions but to no avail. Whilst searching for various positions I would spot aged care nursing positions being advertised but they stated they wanted experienced applicants only. I had no experience and was at that stage getting fed up with looking for something new in my life as I was getting nowhere with applications I had sent off.
In the end I thought why not apply for nursing just to see what eventuates as I knew a couple of males in the Newcastle area who decided to become nurses. So I applied for an aged care position as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) in April 2002 with no experience and to my surprise was asked to come in for an interview which I was accepted. I may not have any family members in my past who have been nurses but I am proud to have started that trend at long last. My younger brother Tim is involved in looking after clients with disabilities and his daughter recently started working in a GP practice as a receptionist. My son Micah is now studying a Bachelor of Arts at UC which he has done well in so far enjoying some of the biology units.
I am on the home run to complete my nursing degree at UC after a roller-coaster of issues along the way which is how life is for some of us venturing into uncharted waters not experienced from my past family history.