Category Archives: Jobs to Careers

Dec 28 2012

YOUR Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Blog published more than 350 posts in 2012. Which ones were your favorites? Today and on Monday, with the year coming to an end, we’re taking a second look at the posts on this blog that attracted the most traffic this year.

A Dream Comes True: A Single Mom with Five Kids Becomes a Nurse. Christy O’Keefe, RN, made the leap from hospital administrative staff to emergency room nurse with help from the RWJF Jobs to Careers program. In the sixth most-read post published on this blog in 2012, she shares the experience, talking about overcoming doubt and what her career means to her and her family.

New Careers in Nursing: A Whole New Direction. Karen Jennings, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC, was well on her way to earning a PhD in clinical psychology. But while working at McLean Hospital, she noticed the impact nurses had on patients, providing medical knowledge and advanced clinical skills as well as comfort and security. It was then that Jennings changed course, becoming a nurse with support from New Careers in Nursing, a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Her account was the seventh most-read post published on the RWJF Human Capital Blog in 2012.

Nursing Needs All Hands on Deck, Including the Quiet Leadership of Introverts. When Jennifer Doering, PhD, RN, joined the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program, she wondered and worried about whether an introvert could be the kind of effective nurse leader that patients, the health care system and the country need. After reading and pondering, she concluded that “introverted leadership” is not a contradiction in terms. Read more in the eighth most-read post on this blog in 2012.

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Apr 11 2012

A Dream Comes True: A Single Mom with Five Kids Becomes a Nurse

By Christy O’Keefe, RN and member, 2009 cohort, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Jobs to Careers program


My name is Christy O’Keefe and I am currently an emergency room RN at the Owensboro Medical Health System Hospital in Kentucky. I had always dreamed of becoming an RN. I love working one-on-one with patients and their families and working as part of a team, with my coworkers, to help improve patients’ health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Jobs to Careers program helped to make that dream into reality for me when I participated in the program’s 2009 cohort, the first in our area. It was a partnership between Owensboro Community and Technical College and the Owensboro Medical Health System.

At the time, I was a 36-year-old single mom with five kids, doing administrative work for the hospital. I needed to maintain my full-time job for the income and insurance benefits, so it would have been impossible for me to attend classes at our local, traditional nursing school because their classes were held during the day. The RWJF Jobs to Careers nursing program allowed me to work full time during the weekday, go to classes and do my clinical work on weeknights and weekends. Some of the classes were even held at my job.

Not only did obtaining my RN degree help improve my family financially, I am now able to spend more time with my family because I work 12-hour weekend shifts and have the weekdays off to be there for my kids.

Was the road to my dream easy? No, not always, there were some days I would doubt myself and my ability to make it through. But if you think about it, usually the things we want the most are the things we have to work the hardest for—otherwise those achievements would not mean so much.

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