I became a nurse after spending time in the hospital as a teenage candy striper. When I turned 16, I participated in the practical nursing program at my vocational high school and worked as a licensed practical nurse. My uniform impressed many people in my community. I became a registered nurse 10 years later. Nursing brought me knowledge, respect, and a way out from living in poverty. It was an opportunity for my American dream.

My coworkers make me happy and joyful. I enjoy telling jokes to my coworkers and family members when appropriate because I love to laugh and see others laughing. Humor can be a stress reliever in the critical care setting and can distract patients and families so they don’t focus on their illness or sadness.

Many of the patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are so critically ill...

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