How can I leave a legacy?

As a young adult I can remember feeling excited and ambitious to make a difference in the world. I pursued my dream career of becoming a nurse in the hope that I would be able to help people in their time of need. Upon graduation, this dream I had was realized when I started working in acute care on a post-operative floor as a bedside nurse.  I soon found myself interested in helping new employees during their orientation phase, as well as reaching out for the chance to work with student nurses as a preceptor.

As I gained more experience in these types of opportunities, I quickly learned my passion and love for nursing was rooted in education.  The ability to come alongside a learner and teach them the way of becoming a nurse appealed to me even more than being at the bedside.  I soon found myself desiring to make an impression on the future minds of our profession.  Merriam-Webster defines the word legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  This was exactly the feeling I was having about being a nurse educator!

As I have matured, I have found myself thinking about things in life differently.  Faith, health, wellness, family, and my career are just a few of the things that I have thought differently about over time.  One thing I often reflect upon is how I will be remembered.  I know that my work as a nurse educator has cemented my legacy here on Earth and that I am doing positive work through the education I have earned and use daily at Walsh University. 

Being a nurse educator busts the door of possibility wide open.  You have the potential to reach hundreds of lives in the classroom, lab, and/or clinical setting.  Each one of these students will go on to care for and treat thousands more.  What a feeling it is to know you have helped people that you have never even met by facilitating learning through your role as the nurse educator!

As we close the books on 2020, what hopes and dreams do you have for your career for the new year? Do you desire to leave a legacy here on Earth? The Nurse Educator Program at Walsh University will get you to your destination. The online format and flexibility make the program a great fit for everyone. We have a Virtual Immersion Workshop available to allow you to explore the Nurse Educator role further before enrolling in the program.  Check out our website for more information on these amazing opportunities! Start the path to your legacy today!

Learn more about how you can pursue a career as a nurse educator through Walsh University’s Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator (BSN to MSN-NE) and Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Educator (BSN to DNP-NE) programs, offered fully online!


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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