Career Exploration

Due to COVID, many of us were required to adapt to the “school from home” environment for our children.  My children were like millions of others across the country who had to find a new way of learning. One of the things I would often hear my oldest child talking about was a class called career explorations.  She was learning about the different career pathways and what types of interests lead to certain careers.  This got me thinking a lot about our career of nursing.  The field of nursing is broad and open to a variety of different opportunities.  This is something that I honestly had not thought of when I set out to pursue my first nursing degree.  I thought, “I want to be a nurse to help people”.  My plan was to work at the bedside to care for sick patients.  I soon realized that the job possibilities were actually quite endless!

Whenever you embark on something new, do you ponder what the outcome will be? Do you find yourself thinking about what possibilities may come from your hard work? Let’s be honest, we don’t ever set out pursing an advanced degree and think, “I am so excited to be working towards this degree, but I probably won’t ever use it.”  The thoughts you have are probably the exact opposite. 

When I started out on my journey into graduate school I often thought, “no matter what I do, having this MSN will be so helpful to me down the road”.  I hoped it would lead me to a full-time faculty role where I would be teaching learners about becoming a nurse.  But I ended up surprised once again! I found myself continuing to work as an adjunct instructor until something new popped up.  My current role working for Walsh is something I never could have dreamed up on my own! I would have never guessed when I was back in graduate school that I would find myself utilizing my master’s degree to promote the Nurse Educator program and also teaching and reaching people in a whole new way! 

I like to think of the career of nursing as an apple tree.  You plant one tiny seed and it eventually grows into a beautiful tree with hundreds of different apples growing on the different branches.  The trunk is strong and creates a firm foundation for all of the branches and apples that split out from it.  The nice thing about the tree is, you aren’t limited to picking one apple off of one branch.  Pursing a job in the field of nursing education is no different.  You could work in a hospital to help train staff, work in a college or university as faculty or even work on educating nurses further in their area of expertise by doing seminars and training sessions. 

So now I ask you, what apple did you pick from the tree? Have you come to a point in your career where you are interested in picking from a different branch? I encourage you to reach for that apple.  Don’t delay, pick your new apple today!

Are you interested in impacting the lives of future nurses by becoming a nurse educator? Learn more about earning your online Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator degree from Walsh University.

About the Author


My name is Colleen Wiley and I am a nurse educator. Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher, but I also had an interest in learning about science. I have always loved helping people which is why I chose to pursue a career in nursing. I spent my time in undergraduate nursing school working as a nurse intern on a medical surgical unit. After graduation in 2005, I worked at the bedside caring for post-operative patients and I loved it! Eventually, I started offering to train new employees and I would also take on nursing students for their clinical preceptorship. It was then that I truly realized my real passion was seeded in becoming a nurse educator! I started working as an adjunct clinical instructor in 2010 and immediately knew this was the path for me. A fire was lit inside of me! That burning feeling of helping others was reignited as I shifted my focus from helping sick and/or recovering patients in the acute setting to helping students learn how to become a nurse. I pursued a graduate degree in nursing education which I earned in December of 2014. I have been working as a nurse educator ever since I took that first leap back in 2010.

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