You guys, there’s only about nine hours until we get to get our weekend started!!! WooHoo. This has been such an odd week, my schedule is normally Sunday through Tuesday at the hospital. But with James traveling so much I’m actually working on a Friday…It’s weird you guys! Anyway, since I’m Nursing it today I wanted to talk a little bit about why I became a nurse. With Father’s Day a few days a way I thought it would be a good time to share this story. Plus, I met with a local high school student this week and chatted about being nurse and getting into the medical field. She taught me more about a local partnership between Oakland Unified School District and the Alameda Health System, which I’m so excited exists because it’s giving our youth career opportunities.
We all choose to get into healthcare for difference reason. Whether it’s based on personal experiences, experiences of a family member or an amazing opportunity presents itself to help you get in. Here is a look at our stories.
Why I Became A Nurse
Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a doctor. I always talked about it. But, then the unthinkable happened. It was back in 2000 on Christmas Eve. My family was coming home from a Christmas Eve party and my started feeling sick. It was weird, my mom was driving because he said he didn’t feel well enough to drive…that never happened! See my dad was a Marine, a very strong and tough guy, a little loud and out spoken (now you all know where I get it from), but he had a gentle soul, he would sacrifice ANYTHING for his family.
Anyway, we stopped on the side of the road for a few minutes because he was feeling nauseated, I think he might have even thrown up a bit. I remember being confused, and a little scared. I had never seen My Dad this way. We ended up getting home, and before I went to be I heard his last words. I remember them very clearly, “Good night Kallie. Know that I will always love you.” Next thing I knew I heard some commotion and went down the hallway and looked into the kitchen. I saw the Paramedics walking back and forth. Scared I jumped back into bed with my sister, it was Christmas Eve and we always slumbered together then. Several hours went by and we were taken to the hospital to see my Mom. She burst into tearing saying he’s gone.
It was the most surreal moment I ever experienced. It was early Christmas morning, my Sixteenth birthday and I was the most alone and sad I have ever felt in my entire life. Even still to this day, the worst moment I ever experienced. My family was always so close and now we were broken, we were no longer whole. It was in that moment I knew I could never be a doctor, I couldn’t tell someone what they had to tell me. Years later, after graduating with a Marketing degree and working in the field I kept feeling I was meant to do more. SO I went back to nursing school and have LOVED every minute of it.
Isha’s Clarke’s Story
Isha Clarke is a high school student, is 15 years old and is so full of life. She attends a high school that is internship-based and saw they had a medical path through Alameda Health System’s HEAL program. In just a couple of years she has already learned that hospitals are a crazy place, it’s raw and sometimes completely unfiltered. Being a part of the Oakland Unified Partnership program has given her the opportunity to see and experience what a day in life of a medical professional is like. Because of this experience she’s already developed a vision of what she wants her career and future to look like.
Programs like this help our youth build skills, knowledge and hands on experiences so they can become our next generation leaders. The program allows students like Isha to see what it’s like in different healthcare departments in different roles. When talking about her experiences in the Emergency Department and Operating Room her eyes lit up with excitement…I love this. She’s so passionate about creating a healthcare environment where patients feel safe, included and accepted.
Working in a diversely populated area such as Oakland has its challenges. Isha is already noticing and seeing the disconnect between patients, their culture/race and their medical professional. She hopes to help change this and bridge the gap for patients of color. She says “Being able to look and be like the people you are serving helps you relate to them. It gives you and the patient a better understanding of how to care for them.”
Being able to prepare our youth for the reality of what it means to be a healthcare professional is huge. And that is exactly what the Oakland Unified School District is accomplishing through this program. I am so impressed by her knowledge, how professional and genuinely kind Isha is. With her passion, heart and soul she is already on the right path to being an awesome medical professional.
I love this quote from her “I still have faith in medicine, and I say that because we have to have medicine and keep improving it. Maybe I will be an Orthopedic Surgeon and the only black woman in the room.” Powerful right? She’s so incredible for her ag and I’m so honored to have met her. Her excited and passion has reminded me of why I am a nurse.
Serving those in their weakest and most vulnerable moments is such an honor. It’s truly a blessing to care for someone’s grandparent, mother, father, sister, brother, child or dearest old friend. Hearing of their lives and how they were is so moving. Sure there are other moments you witness, the family fighting, seeing them struggle to make decisions on behalf of the patient or the selfishness of holding on when there is just nothing left in the life on that bed. You see healthcare is hard, it’s emotional and it’s miraculous. It’s all of those things. It’s such an amazing experience, and I couldn’t be more excited there’s a program preparing youth to handle these situations.
Thank you so much for stopping by. If you are a nurse, doctor, nurse’s aide or any medical professional I’d love to hear your story. I’d love to start a conversation in the comments section about this amazing career; from the good, bad and ugly parts of it…I’m sure we all have plenty of stories to tell!
More About the Oakland Unified Partnership and Members:
A collaboration among Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency—prepares Oakland youth for a range of exciting careers in the rapidly growing health care sector. Through high-quality college and career pathways that combine rigorous academics with supportive mentoring and a variety of practical, hands-on learning experiences, participants gain knowledge, skills, and confidence that will help them achieve their academic, career, and life goals.
By providing academically rigorous, career-focused education, Oakland Unified School District’s Health Academies prepare students for college and health care careers.
Through hospital and clinic internships and other firsthand experiences, Alameda Health System’s HealthPATH initiative exposes youth to health care careers and connects them with inspiring adult role models.
With a goal of increasing diversity in the health care workforce, Alameda County Health Pathway Partnership provides mentorship, academic enrichment, leadership development, and career exposure.