Gerrielle Stafford is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter and a student in nursing school at Resurrection University in Chicago. During the day, she is working for one of the largest hospitals in Chicago, and at night she is studying to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. With her sights set on graduation in August 2020, Stafford is looking forward to a career in labor and delivery or in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Rolling out caught up with Stafford to learn more about her passion for nursing.
How did you determine your career path?
I always knew that I wanted to go into the medical field, but originally I wanted to be a doctor. What made me choose between becoming a nurse and a doctor was the hands-on interaction the nurse has with the patient. The nurse has the most interaction and contact with the patient, and this is what I was seeking.
What inspires you to show up to nursing school every day?
My daughter is my biggest source of motivation. Sometimes I become discouraged when nursing school seems like it’s becoming too overwhelming, but I look at my daughter and I know she deserves the best life, and a career in nursing will help me solidify this for me and her.
What is the best and worst thing about nursing school?
The best thing about nursing school is the clinical aspect — being able to apply what I have learned in class, and the face-to-face interaction with the patient is what I enjoy most. The worst thing about nursing school is the time I have to spend away from my daughter. Nursing school is a huge time commitment, but I’m confident it will be worth it in the end.
How important are nurses?
To me, nurses are an essential part of the health care team. Nurses must provide continuous care to their patients, which means continuously assessing their patients, developing plans of care and collaborating with other members of the health care team to provide the patient with the best care possible.