Nurses sometimes choose their careers based on a passion or because they believe that nursing is their mission in life. A career that is passion-driven helps you stay focused on the love you have for what you do, not profit. Passion is a deep interest in something that triggers powerful feelings and drives consistent action. When I reflect on this after what we have all experienced these past three years, I realize that my passion and mission remain stronger and more focused than ever. The nursing career path we chose may not have been the one we thought it would be. Nursing is a selfless career where we always put our patients and communities first. We are the first to volunteer, the last to leave, the ones to take on challenges and the last to think about ourselves. Nurses face challenges that may influence their desire to leave nursing, most of which have been spotlighted during the pandemic. Now more than ever, nurses face unprecedented amounts of stress.

During the month of May, as we celebrate Nurses Month, I challenge all of you to reflect on the reasons that drove you to this wonderful career in nursing! It’s time to take back the love for our profession and empower, motivate and cultivate one another to remind us of the impacts, outcomes and rewards this magnificent career has to offer.

Let’s continue to support each other and remind ourselves that the beauty of a nursing career is having so many options and opportunities to make a difference in people's lives regardless of the type of nurse you choose to be. As I reflect on my career path (ICU, ER, cardiac, diabetes, public health, leadership, and professor), I can say there were challenges, disappointments and struggles but I learned, grew and appreciated each area and the opportunities provided. When I look at a patient or family member’s face; a nursing student that I taught and is now working side by side with me; a colleague whom I precepted; a family I helped obtain resources; or the simple act of just listening to a colleague vent are all — these are what I reflect on and what confirms that nursing is what I was meant to do.

No matter where you work or what type of nursing work you do, it all contributes to making a difference. There is a video I like to show my nursing students and students considering careers in healthcare: Johnson & Johnson's “Nurses Change Lives.” I recommend everyone watch this short video and get inspired once again, reminding ourselves that Nursing is a great career!

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Bio: Sonia Valdez DNP, RN, ACNP, GANP, PHN, CVRN-BC, FAAN, is Chief Nursing Officer, Faculty of Santa Ana College School of Nursing Grant Reviewer for HRSA Expert Witness with the Board of Registered Nurses Currently serves as President for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Los Angeles Chapter She developed grant-funded projects to produce and disseminate cutting edge information on a variety of topics, including Infection Prevention for Quality of Life, on nursing care of older adults (funded by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), & Center for Health Care Quality), a Safe and Effective Transitions of Care Veterans & Homeless Patients (funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills School of Nursing (BSN, 2007), Walden University School of Nursing (MSN, 2010), Western University of Health Sciences (DNP, 2018) In her role as manager of Clinical Services, she has been able to apply the principles of evidence-based practice for inpatient and outpatient clinical services, and apply geriatric medicine to improve the care coordination of uninsured patients with multiple chronic illnesses.