Lisa Englert has been a nurse for more than ten years, Haley Kirschner for just two.
"It's a huge learning curve. They teach you the basics in nursing school, but when you get here, that's when the real learning happens," Kirschner explained. "Those a-ha moments, those lightbulbs."
While their experiences are worlds apart, the paths that led them to this field are surprisingly similar.
"I wanted to do something where I could make a difference in someone else's life," Englert said.
"I made the decision that the best way for me to live my life would be if I had to humble myself daily and serve others," Kirschner added.
And it's those reasons many head to the classroom to become nurses -- but for now, in Abilene and across the nation, it's not enough.
Phil Howell runs the "simi-lab" at the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing in Abilene and says the critical shortage the nursing industry is facing could impact the quality of your healthcare..
"Depends on who you talk to about how bad it is, but the nursing shortage isn't going away anytime soon," Howell explained.
According to him, it is because of a lack of qualified people to serve as instructors in nursing schools.
"They make more money on the floor in a hospital than they do teaching," he said. "Plus you have to have a Ph.D. and not everyone wants to go back to school or has they money to do so."
And while doctors may oftentimes get all the glory, it's our nurses who deal with all the nitty gritty.
And all it takes are two simple words to make it worthwhile.
"When a patient stops me and says, 'Thank you for being nice, thank you for treating me like a human, just thank you' -- It's those little glimpses of hope and joy that is why iIm here, that's why I'm doing what I'm doing," Kirschner said.
National Nurses' Week is celebrated through May 12th, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
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