In my early twenties, I moved to Los Angeles and began working in an inpatient, dual-diagnosis behavioral health treatment center for people in the early stages of their recovery process. I learned a lot from this experience. It was emotionally tasking at times but so life-affirming. Incredible things would happen every couple of weeks with clients, and I looked forward to those moments that made everything else worth it.
Over the years, a few things became quite clear to me. Co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse knows no cultural, ethnic or socioeconomic bounds, and health disparities among this population are abundant. I saw how nurses in the detox unit cared for my clients when they needed someone the most. I listened as nurses educated families about the disease process and how mental illness and addiction can take its toll. These nurses helped people fight their fears and showed them they were worthy of care. I was fascinated with it all. The seed was planted long before I realized I wanted to become a nurse simply by working alongside these nurses who dedicated their professional lives to caring for others.
A few years later, I moved to Cleveland on a whim after my mom passed away. I wanted a change of scenery to help me cope with my loss. I wound up working for another treatment center just as the opioid crisis took center stage in the national spotlight. I knew there was a need for more people in health care, so I rewrote my path. I did some research and found Hondros College of Nursing.
I needed a program that was not going to take forever, and sitting on a waitlist was not an option. Ultimately, it was not a difficult decision. Hondros was financially sensible, and it checked all the boxes on my list. Since making that decision, I have never questioned if I chose the right institution.
If you are thinking about beginning your journey in nursing, I suggest you mentally prepare yourself to invest enough time and energy into school. You may feel a little lost at times, but don’t worry. The instructors will show you the way. They will teach you as many times as you are willing to ask for help. You have to be able to balance home, work and school. But do not give up! I can tell you that Hondros has expert nurses, and you will learn a lot.
Brittany Bell is a student in the Associate Degree in Nursing program at the Independence campus. She received the Nurse Scholar Award for the Practical Nursing program.