My Long and Bumpy Road to Becoming a Nurse


The right career for you may not always present itself when you expect it to. It wasn’t until after she got her degree in Psychology (with a minor in Spanish) that Stephanie Saturne realized that she wanted to pursue a career in nursing.

Her passion for helping others—along with a strong interest in medicine—led Stephanie to go back to school. She ended up receiving her B.S. in Nursing from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in May 2014 and now has a job as a Nursing Assistant II at Duke Regional Hospital (with a little help from AfterCollege). She shares with us why she decided to go into nursing, what her job search was like, and what she recommends for students with similar career goals!

Here’s Stephanie’s story about becoming a nurse.

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What was your job search like?

I’m sure it doesn’t have to be said, but finding a job is tough nowadays. I can barely remember the number of positions and facilities I’ve applied to. My primary approach to finding a job was to frequently check the career listings webpage at each of the facilities I wanted to work for.

I also registered for AfterCollege and would receive emails about potential job matches. After reading a job description, I would decide to apply for the position if it seemed like a good match.

That’s exactly what I did for my current position. I heard about it through an email from AfterCollege, applied, and I got the job!

How long did your job search take?

I received my Nursing Assistant Certification in April but I didn’t immediately start searching for a job because I wanted to finish the school year. During mid-summer, I began applying to a few places. However, it wasn’t until the end of summer that I started to search adamantly for a job.

For this particular job, I was invited to interview about a week after applying for the position. Then I was offered the job approximately a week later. So I’d say my job search [in total] was around five months long.

How did you become interested in your field?

My road to nursing has been full of curves and bumps along the way. I originally graduated from the University at Albany SUNY with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. However, I have always had an interest in medicine and I’ve always been caring and compassionate. My father, who is a Registered Nurse, inspired me to explore nursing after I graduated.

When I discovered what nurses did, through volunteering in a hospital and doing research about the field, I found that nursing was the perfect career for me.

What are you most looking forward to about your new job?

I consider the best part of nursing (especially in a hospital setting) to be the patients. Individuals are so unique and there’s so much to be learned when providing care for a person. Having the opportunity to interact with such a wide variety of patients and their families is wonderful. The different characters I meet and the potential impact that I can have on their lives is what exhilarates me.

Not only do I want to have a positive impact on their lives but patients have an impact on me as well. When I go into work, I think to myself, ‘Who will I meet today?’ The fact that I don’t know is what makes going to work so exciting.

What advice would you give to college students who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?

If you are pursuing a career in nursing, my words of advice are to be resilient and always remember why you want to become a nurse. You will need resilience to overcome the obstacles and challenges that you will, undoubtedly, face in nursing school.

During those times when you’re tired from studying for what seems like an eternity or times when you find out that you got a bad grade on your exam (when you could have sworn you aced that test) or even when you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure of yourself, and lost, keep in mind the reason you wanted to become a nurse in the first place. Don’t let setbacks discourage you because you’re resilient and you will persevere!

Homework time! Stephanie talks about volunteering and doing a lot of research before deciding to go back to school and become a nurse. Start exploring your career options now so that you can get a good idea about whether a certain job is right for you or not. You can start by reading the career profiles we have here on the AfterCollege Blog and then start seeing if you can volunteer in different industries or conduct some informational interviews with professionals in that field.


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