I was working for the American Red Cross, where I came in contact with dozens of nurses who were volunteer instructors. I spoke to them about their work and I was amazed to find how diverse the nursing profession could be. All the nurses I talked to loved what they did, and they all mentioned that they were never bored with learning. I was impressed and inspired.

Working in a burn unit is physically demanding and exhausting, but it means so much when a patient squeezes my hand and thanks me for helping him or her. Or when the mother of a pediatric patient hugs me at a follow-up appointment because her child survived, in large part due to the care the child received from me and my fellow nurses, that means a lot.

I cared for a young woman who had 3 children. She had been in a plane...

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