Wanting to Make a Difference (Alumni Highlight)

Alumni_Heather_2When asked what her favorite thing about nursing was, she replied, “Making a difference in someone’s life. There is no better feeling.”

Meet Heather Armstrong, an August 2014 Nightingale College graduate, who decided to become a nurse and tackle the restless journey that would soon change her path in life. At the age of 46, Heather was able to check nursing school off her list as she walked across the stage, diploma in hand. Since November of 2014, Heather currently works as an RN case manager. “I oversee 35-40 cases at a time and coordinate all of their home care needs.”


We asked Heather to relive moments of her personal nursing journey and tell us a bit more about her experience. After being a part of her father’s knee replacement surgery in 2009, Heather made the decision to become a nurse. “The nursing staff made a difference in his speedy recovery and were wonderful,” she said. “The nurses made a difference and I thought, ‘I can do that, I can make a difference.’” From then on, she aspired to be a nurse and wanted to lend a hand to others just as the nurses helped her father.


Looking back, what is one thing you wish you knew before going into nursing school?

That it would be so hard. I wish I would have had better financing options.


Share with us one thing that you really enjoyed about Nightingale.

My cohort—especially in my group. There were 5 of us and now, we will be lifelong friends.


Besides learning the needed skills and knowledge to be a nurse, what is one thing you took away with you after graduating?

Lifelong friends and the comradery and bond that all nurses have.


What is something that you found was absolutely necessary to know for students desiring to be a nurse?

You have to want to do it. If you are just doing it for a job, then you won’t like it. It is a very giving profession and you give so much of yourself. You have to like people.


What nursing specialty did you want to get into?

Surgery. I am intrigued by the human body and love to see the insides hands on. It’s amazing to watch surgery.


What is one piece of advice to current students? Graduates? Potential students?

Study hard and want it. It’ll be hard, maybe one of the hardest things you do. But, stay with it because it’s over before you know it.


What was your most memorable experience either here at Nightingale or during your nursing journey?

In my nursing journey, I assisted a woman with terminal rectal cancer from diagnosis through her passing. It was a magical connection and me and my staff made a difference at the end of her life.


What would you say to someone who wanted to become a nurse?

You have to want it and it’s hard work. Never stop learning. It’s frustrating at times and hard to watch when people do not take care of themselves. You just do you best and carry on.


Share with us what being a nurse means to you.

It’s a noble profession with much respect. I enjoy helping people. I love the flexibility and different workplace options.


We would like to thank Heather for her willingness to participate in this alumni highlight.