Choosing to Pursue a Career in Nursing at the Age of Twelve

I can remember being doubled over in pain and unable to stand as my Mom said, “Kelli you are fine you just have a stomach ache.” I can remember crying to my Mom about how my belly was so big and I wanted it to be flat, but she said, “Kelli you are only twelve years old, you still have baby fat and it will go away.” It didn’t. I was an innocent and “over dramatic” twelve year-old who experienced more pain than words can describe.

One February morning, I thought I had Strep, so I went over to a neighbor’s house, who happened to be an ER doctor. As I was over there, one of my painful stomach episodes occurred and my mom asked Dr. Russ to take a look at my stomach. He felt around and the first thing he said was, “wow she feels 20 weeks pregnant!” You can only imagine the look on my mother’s face.

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I was a twelve-year old girl who had not even gotten her period yet. There lying on our neighbor’s couch is where the two-week journey that lead to the rest of my future began… I can remember sitting in the chair, trying to stay calm as the technician measured my organs. I was taking biology at the time and was very interested in the anatomy of my stomach so that kept me occupied, but I could tell by my mother’s face that something was wrong. Soon after the Ultrasound my mom got a call that I needed to immediately schedule a CT scan, so we went straight to another doctor’s office.

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A day later it was discovered that I had a 20cm cyst on my left ovary. My surgery for its removal was scheduled for the next week. In a panic, I made a list of all the questions I had to ask the surgeon to ease my worries. I can remember waking up in the recovery room to a friendly nurse named Beth, she was giving me medication for the nausea. By the end of the day, Beth became my ultimate companion, so much so that I would ask for Beth over my mother for comfort. I would cry and ask for Beth when others were working. She seemed to be the only comfort I wanted. Beth’s kindness and companionship brought me to discover that I wanted to be a nurse. I want to impact children the way Beth had impacted me. I am the youngest of three girls in my family so I never got the opportunity to help my mom take care of a younger sibling. However, I would always go babysit with my older sisters and for some reason I was always the one changing diapers and putting the kids to bed, but my sisters were the ones that got paid. Being a young girl I did not care about the money, I just wanted to be with the kids; the younger the kids the more I loved them. In high school, I worked at a daycare as a teacher for the one-year-old class during the week and volunteered watching the babies at church on Sundays. I loved those kids so much and would always hate sending them back to their parents.

Children gave my heart a purpose and a joy to look forward to when I worked with them. In high school, I spent a lot of time volunteering with homeless shelters. One of my favorite moments was a time we passed out food in a park, and as we started giving out food a lady got so excited she all of a sudden handed me her five-week old baby. Everyone was talking to adults giving them food and there was me, holding an adorable baby that I did not want to give back. Once the time came it always does, unfortunately, she thanked me for holding him and she said that she could tell I had a special touch with children that most people do not. Every Street Reach after that day I went looking for baby Dion. About four or five weeks later I saw him from afar and ran over to him and his family. I did not know if they would recognize me, but Dion’s mom remembered me and so did Dion. I spent that whole day with Dion.

Not only did spending that short time with him allow me to show love and compassion to Dion and his family, but also I unexpectedly received love and a purpose from them. My senior year of high school, I dual enrolled at a local community college to receive my CNA degree. I was able to learn the basics of nursing and fell completely in love. My clinicals were at local nursing and assisted living homes in the mornings before school. Though I had always wanted to be with the children, I learned a lot about myself during the program through helping the elders and found that I did not just love helping kids, I loved helping people. After this experience, I was even more sure I wanted to be a Nurse. It is rare that a twelve-year-old decides what they want to do with their life, but I was one of those lucky kids. To me nursing is more than giving medications and helping sick people get well. Nursing is about creating relationships and making people happy on the inside, even if they are not on the outside. Nursing is about caring about your patients and wanting to help them. It is not about just doing it because it is your job. Nursing is about being a light in someone’s life at a dark time. Nursing is about making a lifelong impact on your patients just like Beth did for me. Like Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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Choosing to Pursue a Career in Nursing at the Age of Twelve. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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