I believe in loving your job. Recently, I was volunteering at the House of Mercy Christmas store wrapping gifts for the neighborhood children. As I work, I usually ask the children their name and what grade they are in. That often leads to a conversation about what they like best about school. One young man responded, “I really like school and work hard at it because my dad and mom say that I must do well in school so I can get a job I really like when I grow up.” I responded that I am a nurse and I teach nursing and I love my job too. That conversation made me think about what it is I do or maybe who I am.
When my granddaughter was three or four, we would play a game where she would ask me, “Who are you, Grandma?” I would respond, “a grandma, “a mother,” and so on. After each answer she would say, “And what else?” As one could imagine, this game can go on for quite a while. Yet when I meet someone new and he or she asks me that question, I invariably say, “I am a “NURSE (I see it in capital letters) – I teach nursing.” I have been a nurse for almost 30 years and have always loved my work. I have held a variety of different nursing positions, from floor nurse to nurse practitioner and many things in between. I have had many patients over the years who touched me in some way. When I began teaching about five years ago, I realized that every patient my students “touch” gets a little bit of me. How fortunate I am that I have a career that nourishes my spirit. I agree with that young man’s parents, the most important thing in the world is to love what you do.
Linda Johnson is a native of Erie and is on the faculty for the Practical Nursing Program at Mercyhurst Northeast. She has been with the Practical Nursing Program since 2004. An Associate with the Sisters of Mercy, she believes teaching at Mercyhurst Northeast is a poignant expression of the vision and values of Catherine McAuley and allows her to genuinely make a difference in students’ lives.