Shannon’s first taste of healthcare came when she was 17 years-old and took a health occupations class through a local hospital. Here she was able to shadow nurses and other health care professionals. This class confirmed her desire to become a nurse. At this stage in her life, she wanted to be an Army nurse or work for the Red Cross as a disaster relief nurse. This desire later morphed into wanting to go on medical missions to alleviate pain and illness throughout the world. She began her journey by taking nursing pre-requisites at OIT.
She ended up giving-up her spot on the college’s track & field team (an injury made it an easy decision) for a full-time CNA position on a pediatric and labor and delivery unit (2005). She no longer cared about travel; she wanted to work with kids. She was able to support herself working as a CNA at night with two other small jobs during the day between classes. She did this until she got married and moved to a new city (2007).
In 2007 she began a new CNA position on a medical floor. This position was cut back to per diem when she was accepted into the nursing program at Southwestern Oregon Community College to their Brookings, OR campus (2008). She was living with her husband’s grandparents during the week and driving home to Veneta, OR to see her husband and work on the weekends. After the first term of school, a student dropped out of the same program on the Florence, OR campus; she was able to take that spot and move back home. About a month after this move, her husband was laid-off from his job and it was questionable as to if she would be able to pay for school. It worked out that both her parents and her in-laws co-signed loans that allowed her to finish school; all the while she and her husband lived off of unemployment, student loans, and whatever she was making working a day or two each week as a CNA.
Due to her husband’s unemployment, there was a lot of pressure placed on her to do well, pass the NCLEX, and bring security to her family through a nursing job. The year she graduated with her ADN, RN, 2010, there were so many other things going on in her life that that year was easily classified as the hardest and worst year of her life. A few things that happened that year were that her 26-year-old big brother was diagnosed with cancer, her grandma was placed on hospice, and her cousin had a baby that was fighting for his life. These together with nursing school left her very stressed.
After graduation in 2010, she wanted to continue on to get her BSN, but needed the income. Her CNA position was transitioned into an RN position and she began her first job on the same medical floor that she had worked as a CNA. She was working nights for the first year and then transitioned to evenings.
After the birth of her first child (2012), she returned to school for her BSN after taking a part-time float pool position. She ended up having her second child while in this program and graduated with a BSN in 2014. Her desire was/is to go back to school for her MSN so that she can teach and invest in students, however, she has an agreement with her husband that she will wait until her kids are old enough to be in school first.
When presented with the opportunity to become a life coach, it was the perfect, natural progression of her career. It gave the opportunity to help those she saw struggling most; nurses. She believes that by helping, investing in, and empowering healthcare workers, the greatest impact can be made to healthcare, the community, and beyond.
She continues to work per diem as a float pool nurse, and is the unit representative for the Oregon Nurses Association, the local union. She, also, volunteers her nursing skills at a free medical clinic that meets monthly in her small town. Shannon looks forward to her future journeys.