A handyman put James Morgan onto a path towards a career in healthcare.
“When I was a young teenager, our handyman was working on our house and put a drill through his hand. At this point, I couldn’t drive and neither could he. So he helped me drive him to the hospital. Then I sat down and realized that I didn’t freak out. I went into a help mode. That’s when I became interested in the medical field.” he said.
Morgan was first inspired to become a nurse a child while caring for his grandmother who battled cancer. He was only in third grade and would put Vaseline on her chapped lips, just as he saw her nurses do. “I was always at her bedside, in the hospital or at home. I made her bed, cooked her scrambled egg sandwiches, etc. Anything to make her feel more comfortable. Nursing was always a natural fit for me.”
Opting to take the fast-track into the medical field, Morgan became an emergency medical technician (EMT). He liked the instant gratification of helping patients when they arrived at the emergency room. It was in the ER he started researching his next career step. He asked nurses in different positions and departments about their jobs. He wanted to know the good, the bad and the ugly. According to Morgan, people interested in nursing should “… talk to the people who are doing what you want to do. Everyone has different stories and paths. Save yourself the time. Learn from others so you don’t have to learn the hard way.”
Morgan said this method helped him grow and work his way up the healthcare ladder from EMT to licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to registered nurse (RN) and DNP.
A privilege and responsibility
Morgan says nurses have the awesome opportunity to impact lives, daily. “If someone comes in and they are having a rough day or maybe the worst day of their life. For me to make that day better or not as rough is a privilege and a responsibility. If someone leaves with a smile and a prescription or receives the help that they need; it’s pretty amazing to be part of that,” he said.
Morgan, who also works as an urgent care nurse practitioner, says it’s important for students and society to understand that nursing is not a job, it’s a calling.
“You must have the ability to work with people in high-stress situations. You work long hours away from your family on nights, weekends and holidays.”
Morgan said students need to examine their motivations for becoming nurses. “Plenty of professions help people. There are a lot of components in nursing that go beyond helping. Nurses must understand medical knowledge, how to be compassionate and how to educate patients and their families.”
Morgan enjoys sharing his insight and experience with his students. “Being an alumnus I could see the program from the student side. I can connect with students and say I’ve literally been there.” He also likes to see how student-based feedback impacts the Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions. “It’s a great privilege to witness the evolution of future nurses and the school.”
He’s even written a book to get future nurses started, “101 things every person in healthcare should know.”
May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, designated in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.