13:22 PM

Why I Became a Nurse


For Nurses Week, we asked you to share your story with us about why you became a nurse. Here are the stories from our exceptional nurses: 

Karen Mahoney

"I was 13 years old when my grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Within a 6-month period I saw a once healthy man wither from the ravages of his disease process and pass away. He was 58 years old. The impact it had on me was tremendous. I remember feeling helpless and hopeless and vowed to find a way to help others who couldn’t help themselves. Nursing was the obvious answer for me, and it is all I ever wanted to do. It was not just a decision I made, but as a person of faith I feel it was a calling. I have been an RN for the past 38 years and I have enjoyed a wonderful career. I would highly recommend it as a career path for anyone who likes a challenge, loves caring for others, and wants a career with many opportunities for growth and advancement in a variety of settings. I have a coffee mug that says, “Nursing is a Work of Heart”. It is not for everyone but for those who have a deep compassion and willingness to care our fellow humans at the most vulnerable stages of their lives." 

Jordan Staggs

Jordan Staggs

“I became a nurse because I wanted a career in which I could help people, be financially secure, and have opportunities to work regardless of geographical location. I enjoyed the challenge of nursing school and immediately fell in love with pediatric nursing. Although I loved my job and the challenges that nursing brought, I didn’t truly find my passion for this profession until later on. In 2017 I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and had to go from being a healthcare provider to being the patient. This experience sparked creativity, passion, and drive that I now pour into my career here at Cook Children’s. Having experienced the vulnerability that comes with being repeatedly hospitalized, I now am a better advocate for my patients as well as the nurses here within our organization. I strive to develop and support innovative and evidence-based initiatives that will promote patient safety and have a lasting impact on our culture of Zero Harm here at Cook Children’s. When I encourage individuals to choose nursing as their profession, I advise them to consider their reasons for wanting to be a nurse. Recognition and riches are not strong enough convictions for success in this profession. If you desire to serve others and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the most vulnerable populations then nursing will be the most rewarding privilege you will ever experience.” 

Ryan Hoover

“I became a nurse becuase of the care and attention I received here at Cook Children’s Medical Center when I was personally diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002. Because of the great team of CDEs here, I knew that was what I wanted to eventually do. I am beyond blessed to be doing just that in the place that gave me so much! I would encourage anyone with a caring heart to become a nurse because it can be SO rewarding to make positive changes in the lives of patients and their families.” 

Amy Hopkins

I became a nurse because I saw my Mom THRIVE at being one. Growing up, from a young age, my parents always said I knew exactly what I wanted to do – be a Nurse! My Mom was an LPN (equivalent of an LVN) since college; she worked in a Nursing Home, as a Medical Receptionist in Orthopedics, tried school Nursing for a while (at the elementary school my sister and I attended) and ended her career at her beloved Cornell Health (formerly Gannett Health Services.) Amy Hopkins 1

Once I graduated from Nursing school, I started in acute care (on a Specialized unit which, at the time, was quite an accomplishment!) I then moved on to an OCFS Residential Facility for girls; then, my career came full-circle when I started at Cornell Health! I’ve since worked in a few other settings, all of which taught me new and exciting things that I carry with me and use in my practice every day here at Cook Children’s. Attached are 2 of my favorite Nursing photos of all time… One when I went with my Mom to a “Take Your Child to Work Day” at Cornell Health; and one from the infamous “Cornell Slope Day” with a colleague. I would encourage all who get fulfillment and enjoyment out of helping people and their families (in all ways), educating others on topics they’re experts in, and feel a sense of pride from talking about their career and accomplishments, to become a Nurse. I saw my Mom do all of these things and come home happy (albeit exhausted at times!) to have contributed to the success and health of other people on a daily basis – that’s what I strive for every day… and will until my body won’t let me work anymore!”Amy Hopkins 2

Want to share your story? Email us at InternalCommunications@cookchildrens.org 

Send us a paragraph answering these questions:

  • Why did you become a nurse?
  • Why would you encourage someone else to become a nurse?  

Please send photos that represent either or both of these questions -- you have wide latitude here but be sure that the image does not include patients, families, or private health information.