Finding your purpose and calling in life can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be – when you start with tuning into what interests you, and then take baby steps to gain exposure to the profession and learn from others who are already there.
For Renée G. Omoyeni, the journey to her calling as a nurse began early on. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I was attracted to what nurses do in the hospital and just helping people,” Omoyeni shares. “I never wavered from wanting to become a nurse.”
“I will never forget a patient I cared for who received a terminal diagnosis and transitioned to hospice all within the same week. I developed a bond with him and his daughter and was able to come back on my day off to say goodbye the day he passed at his request,” Omoyeni recalls. “He had a love for sports, so I sat with him as we watched his favorite team, and I vividly remember feeling the reassurance that I chose the right career path for myself. As a child, I loved watching ER and anything that featured nursing – I was always so fascinated by the thought of becoming a nurse.”
Thinking back to when she was first getting started in nursing, Omoyeni, who began her pre-nursing journey at Valencia Community College in 2002, wishes she had more exposure to opportunities in healthcare careers in high school and more support in figuring out HOW to take the right steps towards a career in nursing.
“As I started to navigate the journey into nursing, I wish I had more guidance and support early on. I didn’t know what classes in high school would best set me up for nursing, nor did I have the best grades. Having someone who could have given me more direction, focus and information on the different pathways into the profession would have been really helpful,” says Omoyeni.
“Since I was kind of clueless about how best to position myself to get into nursing schools, I received a lot of denials and a couple of waitlist notifications,” she shares. “In the meantime, I decided to become a License Practical Nurse (LPN), but I didn’t take my studies seriously, so I failed out a few months before graduation. I was super discouraged and wondered if my dream would ever happen. But I didn’t give up. I refocused my efforts, took my application to nursing school very seriously and I ended up getting into a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program the following year.”
Completing her goal, Omoyeni graduated from Bethune Cookman University with a BSN degree in 2010.
“I look back on the eight years it took me to go through the entire process and in retrospect, I see so many areas I could have improved upon to avoid the delay, but I have zero regrets. I’m grateful for my journey because it taught me so many lessons on strength and resilience, and it allows me to relate to and encourage others on their own path – no matter how difficult and discouraging it may seem along the way,” Omoyeni adds.
Today, she is a practicing nurse in Houston, Texas and she also founded CompassRN, a nurse-led nonprofit organization connecting underserved and underrepresented middle and high school students to nursing career opportunities.
Opening the door to a career in healthcare
For students who are curious about a career in nursing, Omoyeni suggests starting by learning the basics.
In high school
Enroll in classes that relate to health sciences, like Biology to learn about living organisms, Anatomy & Physiology to learn about how the