In an ever-evolving world, choosing a career that not only provides stability but also offers a multitude of diverse career paths and opportunities for growth is paramount. One profession that encapsulates these vital elements is nursing. Beyond the white coats and stethoscopes, nursing stands as a rewarding field, where each day presents a new challenge, a fresh opportunity to make a difference, and a chance to continually expand one’s horizons.
Darlene Murdock, currently a dedicated staff nurse at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, and the Vice President of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), wasn’t always focused on a career in nursing. Her story began in the tumultuous 1980s banking industry, where job insecurity loomed large due to the sector’s instability.
Seeking a more stable career and something more aligned with her purpose, she turned to nursing, a suggestion from a friend that ultimately changed the course of her life.
“Once I got into nursing, I knew this was the place for me; this was the right choice. I was very happy with it,” shares Murdock. She discovered excitement, challenges, and a profound sense of fulfillment in helping people during their most vulnerable moments.
Early in her career, Murdock became a perioperative nurse. These are the nurses who help pre, during and post-operations to make sure patients receive the needed care. “To provide patient-centered care, a nurse must form a therapeutic relationship with their patients and their loved ones. Forming that relationship allows the nurse the opportunity to educate and advocate for their patient, and that is the most interesting and rewarding part of being a nurse for me,” says Murdock, who has translated her love for educating her patients into helping them feel empowered.
Diverse Opportunities in Nursing
When people think about nursing, many immediately jump to nurses working in hospitals, in direct patient care. And while bedside nursing is a very important part of healthcare, it is just one aspect of the profession.
Murdock underscores, “There’s so much more to nursing than what people see on the outside. There are over 90 different specialties within nursing like mental health, labor and delivery, oncology, and perioperative just to name a few. It’s possible to find something that aligns with your interests, preferences, and strengths. In addition, nurses work in a multitude of settings from hospitals, clinics, schools, shelters, and private offices to remote work as well. Nurses can work in research, data informatics, education, public health, private sector insurance companies, healthcare companies, and more. There are a host of career opportunities for people with nursing degrees.”
“If you love people, you will love nursing,” Murdock affirms. “Nursing is about changing and saving lives. I am a trauma operating room nurse, so I always say I’m in the business of saving lives and limbs. You have a direct impact on life. You are taking care of people, some at the worst time in their lives, and you can make a difference when it is most needed. If you are a caring, ethical, empathetic person, nursing is the right profession for you,” she adds.
What Makes Nursing Interesting and Engaging
Drawing from her experience as an operating room nurse, Murdock shares, “What makes nursing interesting and engaging is the variety of