Chad Collins

September 2011
Class of 2012


I believe this about nursing… "Nursing provides flexibility and elasticity of choice affording those changing careers the ability to explore more positions than any other career field."

Years ago, I had a successful sales career moving along nicely. Sales goals were exceeded 3 years in a row, and in the 3rd year I was given the honor of being a part of the company’s President’s Club for record sales growth. My network of preferred customer’s was well established; I was providing products and services to some of my regions top companies and had a healthy list of referrals as well. Yet, I had a sense of extreme dissatisfaction. After leaving this company and moving to a smaller company selling similar products, I continued to have this feeling of purposeless work. Knowing I could not stay on this career path, I decided to take a career assessment test to examine my gifts for the workplace. This test showed me very clearly where I would find satisfaction in my work: Medicine.

I returned to school to pursue a BS in Biology knowing I would be seeking some type of employment in the medical field. Additionally, I took on a position as a phlebotomist at a local Omaha hospital. During my schooling and working as a phlebotomist, it became clear where I found purpose—patient care. In addition to working, I interacted with many doctors and nurses to ascertain what type of medical career I should pursue. After shadowing doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists it became clear. Nursing was the answer to finding purpose and realizing all the aspects of caring but also offering the flexibility of career choice. Nursing allows for a great variety of responsibilities, the ability to choose from multiple health fields, but greatest of all, direct patient care.
fter deciding to go into nursing, I realized going back to school at my age was risky and would set me back a significant amount of money. At one point I wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford the programs that accepted me into their accelerated programs. I felt a bit deflated that after years of searching for the right type of care in healthcare and taking jobs to help ascertain which would be best, money would hold me back. Then I received a letter from my college indicating I had been chosen as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholarship recipient. My fears about affording nursing school vanished.

I am so very thankful RWJF has provided provision for me to attend nursing school. Without the assistance the scholarship gave, I may still be squandering my skills in an environment without purpose. Nursing is my calling, and although it took me 15 years to see it, I have positioned myself for success. I owe this gratitude to RWJF and the terrific teaching and experience I have received at my college. Thank you for believing in the new emerging leaders in the career of nursing.