My Story – Nursing Assistant to a LPN

Debra Riley


This was a submission article for our scholarship program telling the story of one young girls dream of becoming an LPN. Working first as a Nursing Assistant and then after several setbacks having the drive to train to be a Licensed Practical Nurse.

“I have always been interested in healthcare since I was a little girl. In my hometown of Shell Rock, we have a “Little Miss Shell Rock” contest. I was in it, of course, and one of the questions the judges had asked me was, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My response instantly without thought was, “I want to be a doctor”.

I first started out my college experience at a Community College for business because I was too scared to go for nursing because everyone told me all through high school that it was going to be too hard for me and that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

My family and I have never really been that close so they weren’t very encouraging when I told them that I wanted to go into healthcare.

I was too self-conscious to go for nursing and thought that I would fail every class so I decided to go for something a little bit easier. Half way through my first semester I decided that business was not at all for me and I was just going to wait to go to school for a little bit so I dropped my classes.

Making Changes

I first started out my journey in healthcare right out of high school. I graduated early in 2013 and decided to go for my certified nursing assistant. I decided that working as a CNA for a little bit before I started school was a smart idea to see if I could make it in the healthcare field. I failed my CNA skills test the first time that I took it and I was so ashamed that I almost didn’t take it again.

I did however, take it the second time and I passed it with flying colors. I could finally start working as a CNA and I was so excited. I was to start my first job as a Certified Nursing Assistant CNA the next day. I went into work so nervous but so excited. I ended up hating it, I called my mom crying in the middle of my shift. It was too much for me and I couldn’t do it. She told me to just keep going and push it out and maybe I would end up liking it.

I ended up working at that job for four years and ended up loving every single day that I went to work. That job also offers a CMA program where they will pay for your Med Aid. I was scared but decided to go for it. I ended up taking the medication aid program at Hawkeye and once again, was so nervous.

I ended up passing the class with an A and started working at my job with my CMA and I ended up loving it! I finally decided that I would be able to make it in the healthcare field and it was time for me to start my classes!

lpn nurse


I ended up being on academic probation  for dropping my classes so I enrolled in University and I loved it. Everyone told me how stupid it was for me to go to there because their classes were too hard and they were too expensive. I made it through three terms  and ended up failing my pharmacology class. I was so discouraged and upset with myself. I watched my fellow class mates and friends move on to each term and I was just disgusted with myself.

I was a broken hearted for a little bit about failing my class but then decided to get back up and follow my dreams. I started back  in the spring of 2017 for nursing classes. I successfully passed all three of my classes that semester and started feeling a lot better about myself.

I stopped letting what everyone was saying about me and my schooling get to me. I stopped listening to all the bad comments. I decided to just block out what everyone must say and focus on my dreams. I hopefully want to go on to get my Nurse Practitioner someday, but for now I think I need to focus on my short-term goal which is my LPN. Obviously NP Salaries are very attractive but I know it will take time and effort to get there.

Dreams and Aspirations

I am now enrolled to go back to school for the fall of 2017. I am starting some of the nursing classes again and I am extremely nervous, but I am not going to let that get in my way. So far, I have done well while I have been at collage and I am excited to start my actual nursing classes and to start my clinicals in this coming up spring semester!

I know that the rest of my journey for my LPN or my RN is not going to be a piece of cake and I am going to struggle most of the way. I know that I am going to have trouble trying to balance school, studying, working, and my personal life.

I know that I am going to struggle paying my bills because I’m not going to be able to work as much while I have clinical. I know that I am going to have to study all the time to be able to get good grades and pass my classes.

I know that I am going to not have much of a personal life and I am not going to be able to hang out with my friends as much as I would like to, but I am not going to let any of this get in the way of my dreams because this is what I have always wanted and I am so excited to see where this journey is going to take me!

I know that I will love being a nurse!”

Another great back story – thank you!

Why stop when you get qualified as a RN? More and more registered nurses are continuing with their training into specialist careers. One we have covered in detail at Nurse Salary Guide is CRNA – Nurse Anesthetist. Have a look at our CRNA Salary page – it gives a hint to one reason some consider this career!

If that has got your interest you might like to look at our CRNA Schools by State page. It cover a lot of information about nurse anesthetist training and programs available.

Just before you go – have you seen some of our new articles in the nurse blog section? We have a good mixup of interesting nursing subjects from Nursing Quotes and the Nurse Symbol to Nursing Magazines and The Patron Saint of Nurses. Have a look around before you leave … and thanks for reading.