I find Brenda as I usually do, sitting at the table, looking perpetually busy. This time, popping olives and cheese into her mouth. After a long day at work, such appetizers are one of her favorite vices.
She looks at me quizzically when I mention I'm interviewing her.
I reply it's for a journalism project, and mention I plan to focus on her work. She asks if the interview couldn't possibly take place later, as she is tired after work, but I persist. Finally, she relents. I start by asking about her career. At work, she's always been very skilled, and a lot of her patients grow very attached to her. I'm curious and I want to find out why she she began nursing in the first place.
"Well, it had a lot to do with my family. I also wanted to help people. I was also always very interested in the science of medicine, and the study of illness."
I know that almost all of her family has been in the medical profession, including her mother and three of her sisters, so certainly her family helped. She grew up with very little money, but her mother always worked hard at her nursing job. I'm sure that she acted as a good role model.
I can see her motivation and interest as she replies to my questions. It's apparent not many have asked her this before. I want to find out more about what drives her.
"I'm motivated by my desire to help people and my belief that everyone deserves the best medical care possible," she begins. She continues about her values in terms of care for the sick. I've noticed that she's always been a very caring individual, helping others as much as possible. Nursing is certainly a near perfect profession for someone who cares for others and wants to make a positive impact in their lives. "I'm also very motivated by my family and my desire to give them the best they can get in terms of education and resources."
I can't help but feel the last bit is pointed, as I have just been complaining about not being able to go shopping. Even so, I'm impressed with the answer. I've always admired her work, and many of her patients and coworkers have spoken highly of her. I want to find out a little more about her family based motivation, as I know she grew up poor with little in the way of materialistic values. "When I was growing up, we had next to nothing, but I always knew my mother loved me a great deal. I guess her love imprinted the same desire in me to make my children feel the same way."
This is certainly true. My grandmother raised her and four other children in a massive, ramshackle farmhouse and worked almost constantly to support her family. My mother, the youngest, also had the benefit of three older sisters attempting to raise her as well. She must have gotten a great deal of love from everyone in her family. I decide to find out more about her career as it is now, and how her motivation affects it. I ask her what her work is like.
"In the past, I was a visiting nurse. It was a very rewarding job, because I got to meet people hands on and I really felt like I was helping people. However, it was very sad, as some of my patients were very old or terminally ill and passed away. I recently switched to working in the office, coordinating home visits and doing paperwork. I miss going to people and helping them but I also like this job because of my back problems, and I still feel like I am helping quite a bit. Coming home at the end of the day and knowing I'm working to help my family is one of the most rewarding parts."
I'm unsurprised to hear the last part. It is apparent that her family is what drives her in life. I know that her mother always worked very hard for her growing up, and I can't help but feel that this is what has led her to be the way she is today, caring so much for her while having so little to give.
Her response is, "My mother definitely led to who I am today by showing me such love growing up, while we had so little." I am definitely impressed, and I hope I end up the same way.
After learning all of this, I'm also curious to hear what her plans are for the future. She could do quite a bit, as she has always been popular with coworkers and patients. Patients have actually asked for her by name quite frequently. When I ask her what she plans on doing in the future, she replys that her main desire now is to give her children the resources they need to make it in life, and discusses her desire to help me and my sister find happiness. She also says, "At this point, my main focus is no longer my career, it's my family."
As always, one of her most important dreams is giving her family a good life. It seems like even though much of her passion comes from helping people, often, these people are her family. Like her mother, with little money but a lot of love, she is driven to help her family and give her children a better life by working as hard as she can and showing as much love as possible.