Why I became a nurse: Dean Sylvia T. Brown

This post is the first in a series from the College of Nursing highlighting what draws nurses to the profession. We invite our nurse-readers to comment and share your “Why I Became a Nurse” story.

As I write this narrative I am looking at a photograph in my office taken at Christmas when I was about five years old.  There I am in front of a Christmas tree in a nursing uniform hand-made by my Grandmother, complete with a nurse’s cape and cap alongside a bassinet with a baby doll.

So, I guess from an early age the idea of becoming a nurse was ruminating in my mind.  However, my real ambition to become a nurse began when I was a sophomore in high school.  At this time, my Grandmother,  who I loved dearly, (the one who made my nurse’s uniform) suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.  I saw the competent care that she received by nurses in the intensive care unit, as well as the care and compassion that was shown to her and my Grandfather.  This event made it clear to me that this was the career path that I wanted to take. I then decided to take a health careers class in high school which was taught by a nurse.  She was an excellent role model and further influenced my decision to study nursing.  The reputation of ECU School of Nursing was stellar and I knew that I wanted to pursue my study at ECU.  I loved nursing from the very beginning class.

As I was completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that one day I wanted to also teach nursing.  I truly admired the faculty and loved the teaching aspect of nursing as well as the clinical aspect.  One of the great attributes of nursing is the variety in roles one can have while in this profession.  I have been in a variety of roles– from clinician, educator, researcher, and administrator during my career.  Each role has been fun, rewarding and challenging.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor


One Comment

  1. There was such a tremendous shortage of nurses when I went to ECU, I thought it would be a good idea to try nursing. I am very grateful because nursing has been my calling and truly a life’s work. Because of the wonderful faculty I had here at ECU, I wanted to be a nursing faculty and now I have the privilege of educating both future nurses and preparing advanced practice nurses . Nursing is a profession that permits you to do many wonderful things that can positively impact patients directly, through policy and through the education of their future nurses. The honor of being a Pirate Nurse is just icing on the cake!

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