• Kathleen Burns

Clinician Spotlight: Gloria, RN

Gloria’s journey to nursing was a far from linear path. After three years of nursing experience in Nigeria, Gloria had to start from scratch once she moved to the United States.

Growing up in Nigeria, Gloria knew she wanted to go into the medical field. What she needed to decide was if she wanted to become a doctor or a nurse. Spoiler alert: she chose nursing.

How did she decide to pursue nursing? It all came down to identifying her priorities. For Gloria, her main priority is connecting with patients. Nursing would allow her to spend more time with patients than she would be able to as a doctor.

Gloria started her basic training in Nigeria and worked as a nursing instructor. Despite having three years of experience in Nigeria, Gloria had to start again when she moved to the United States.

However, moving to the US gave her the opportunity to both work and go to school at the same time. In Nigeria, she would have had to pick one or the other. Although challenging, Gloria remains steadfast that this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. When she moved to the United States, Gloria worked as a nursing aide while pursuing her bachelor's degree.

“Many people wondered why I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree when it wouldn’t make a difference in my paycheck [once I passed the NCLEX], but I had my own vision, my own dream. My bachelor’s degree was a goal I wanted to work toward.”

Once she earned her bachelor’s degree and passed the NCLEX, Gloria started working in rehab nursing. There she discovered how rewarding it is to watch a patient progress. Playing a role in that improvement process is what’s most rewarding for Gloria. Even the littlest things that we take for granted, like being able to feed or dress ourselves, mark major milestones for many patients. “Watching the joy they feel when they can take care of themselves again gives me energy to keep going.” Gloria said.

Today, Gloria is back in school pursuing her PhD while working full time for an IT company, being a mom, AND picking up per diem shifts on the side. Gloria’s full time job is dedicated to improving the documentation systems nurses use at healthcare facilities.

"Nurses' brains work in a specific order," Gloria said. There’s a rhythm and regimen that works for nurses, so Gloria collects and analyzes user data to improve the documentation systems healthcare facilities use to find a solution that fits within a framework that works for the clinicians.

“It’s a challenge for nurses to find a balance between documentation and human care. But who comes first, the documentation or the person laying in the bed?”

Gloria says that personalized care should always come first, but a major challenge nurses face is how to make sure that care fits in during a busy shift. She continues to pick up per diem shifts through connectRN to maintain her bedside nursing skills and to understand the challenges nurses are facing, as those challenges help to inform her day job.

Gloria’s number one piece of advice for nurses who are struggling to find the balance between the day to day activities and spending time with patients is to take care of yourself first.

“When you take care of yourself, you have energy to pour into others.”

Taking care of yourself has to come first so that you have the capacity to show up for your residents, to be there to celebrate the birthdays with them and to be the shoulder they cry on when things go wrong.

Gloria reflects on her experience moving from Nigeria to the United States as a season of life she had to work through. Was it more challenging to get where she is today than it would have been if she was born here? Yes, but the challenges she faced made her stronger along the way.

Gloria says, “Life is all the things that happen along the way, but that shouldn’t be an excuse not to move forward. There were challenges that made me wonder if I should continue or just stay where I was. But those challenges were my opportunities to continue to grow.”

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us, Gloria!

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