Check out Nurse Dani Sutton. I wonder why she decided to become a nurse. Maybe she entered the nursing profession because she liked the cap and the cool nursing uniform. Or maybe it was because she wanted to find a handsome doctor who would rub her back. There are a lot of reasons why people go into nursing, especially during a recession. The nursing profession looks really good when you’re broke.

A lot of people have asked me why I became a nurse. I dropped out of college in 1974. I wanted to “find myself.” My timing was lousy. The only thing that I found was the back of the unemployment line. Factories and businesses in our town were shutting down because of a huge recession, so I had plenty of free time on my hands to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I slept in late and lived out of my parent’s refrigerator. I was lucky. My dad and mom said I could live at home just as long as I didn’t get too cozy in my old room.

My dad was a member of the Teamsters Union who had connections with a temp agency in town, so, from time to time, I’d get the opportunity to work my butt off in sweltering factories, freezing warehouses, and busy offices. I lifted heavy boxes, stuffed thousands of envelopes, punched countless computer cards, and occasionally deflected unwelcomed sexually advances from a few lecherous bosses. I also met a lot of miserable people. They clocked into work every morning and checked their souls in at the front door. This scared the hell out of me. Was I looking into my future? I talked to my dad about this and he told me to stop worrying so much. And then he asked, “When are you going back to school?”

I sat on the back porch everyday after work and waited for the paperboy to make his evening delivery. I’d open up the want ads and scan the paper. The only job that I thought I had a shot at was working as a certified nursing assistant, but there was a catch. I wasn’t certified as a nursing assistant. I was desperate, so I did what any red-blooded American girl would do. I begged my dad for ninety dollars to cover the cost of the twelve-week certification course, books, and a brand new pink student uniform. My dad was a very practical man. He pulled out his wallet and handed me the cash. He knew what he was really doing was handing me my future.

About three weeks into the class I was hooked. I wanted to become a nurse. My focus shifted from earning a buck to taking care of people, and since I come from a family of nurses, it was a natural fit. My dad told me that I would always have a roof over my head and food on my table by working as a nurse. I told you that he was a practical man. Nursing isn’t for everyone, but I think that more people are going to enter the profession as hard times trudge on. And who knows. Maybe someday someone else will be telling the story about how the great recession of 2008 guided them into nursing.