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Why I Became A Nurse

UT Southwestern Medical Center Nurses share their career inspirations.

Nurses are called to the profession for many different reasons. These 6 nurses from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas were all inspired by the care they saw nurses provide their family members in times of health crises. Those nurses taught them compassionate healthcare and those experience spurred them to pursue their own healthcare careers. Read their stories and share in the comments why you became a nurse.

Rhonda Armour, RN, Solid Organ Transplant Program
I was inspired to become a nurse in high school after my younger sister was in an accident that nearly took her life. Watching the team of healthcare professionals caring for and about my sister was truly inspiring to me. I knew then and there that nursing was the career for me.

The best part of nursing is caring for our patients and striving to impact their lives in a positive way. We never stop learning from our patients. They challenge us to work harder and to become better at what we do each day. The transplant program has such an amazing team of diverse, caring professionals. The dedication that is seen throughout the department at all levels is second to none. 

Sandy Bench, RN, Surgical Services
When I was growing up, my baby sister had epilepsy and I was inspired by her illness. I was attending nursing school when a difficult pregnancy made it necessary for me to put my education on hold. I returned to my dream and graduated nursing school when that child graduated high school. There are many things I love about my career, but one of the main things that I love is the teamwork in the operating room. Also, UTSW is an academic hospital, so we are always encouraged to learn and teach. I love that I will never know it all. There is always more to learn and the possibilities in nursing are endless.

Laura Fincher, RN, Surgical Services
I like the teamwork of the hospital staff. I especially like that I take care of patients at a time when they are most vulnerable and need an advocate. I have a very short window of time to make my patient feel safe, and bring assurance that I will take good care of them. I love being a patient safety advocate and working closely with surgeons to better a patient's life. When I tell a patient that we will take good care of them, I mean it. They are putting their life in our hands. My husband and my daughter were patients here in the transplant unit in 2014. I was amazed at how wonderful they were taken care of. My husband, who is an ongoing transplant patient, has had so many wonderful people care of him. I am proud for people to know what a great place this is and how we take excellent care of people.

Vanna Orpinel, RN
I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was a young girl. My grandfather was on hospice care at our home when I was a teenager. I remember taking on the role of a nurse at that time. I researched all the medications he was on and gave them to him, suctioned his airway and cared for him while my family mourned. I remember knowing that I did not want them to worry about the duties that needed to be done. I just wanted them to hold his hand and cry or pray and just be with him. The day he passed the hospice nurse came and she told me I was an excellent nurse and one day I would help other families just like I helped my own. I was 15 at the time. I love caring for people. I truly, genuinely believe in holistic care. I love working at UTSW because of the people. I enjoy learning from the doctors who are willing to teach. I feel like the nurses I work with are my family.

Elizabeth Serrano, RN, Surgical Services
I was inspired to become a nurse after my brother-in-law was in a very bad mountain biking accident and spent time in the Neurology ICU. I was inspired by the wonderful care that he received and wanted to be able to make a difference like that one day. My favorite part of being a nurse is being able to make a tangible difference in people's wellness and healing. At the end of the day, there is nothing more fulfilling than being there for people in their hardest moments and knowing that you provided compassionate, competent care. Also, I love my work family. We spend more waking hours at work than at home, and having colleagues you can count on is worth more than gold. I have been blessed with coworkers who have loved and supported me through so many difficult and joyous times. I couldn't ask for better.

Linnea Tolbert, RN, Operating Room Nurse Manager
I was inspired to become a nurse when my grandfather required around-the-clock care due to his Alzheimer's. The nurse who cared for him was compassionate and went above and beyond her duties as a nurse. I wanted to share that same gift with others. The ability to comfort patients and their family before surgery is a special part of being an OR nurse. The patient can relax in knowing their nurse is actively advocating for them during their procedure. I love the people I work with ─ we are a family. I don't dread going to work because I know I work with awesome souls. I want our community to know that UTSW provides amazing care. We are here to help and strive to be part of the advancement in healthcare.

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