December Nurse of the month: 2015 Scholarship Winner Erin Bahner!

12.15 Nurse of the month

As a young girl growing up in Southern California, my brother and I never wanted for material things. What we did want, but never seemed to have, was the trust, the unconditional love and the sense of security for which every child, not only longs, but so desperately needs. My story is a typical one in that my parents divorced during my brother’s and my younger years; he was only two years of age and I was five. We grew up pretty much on our own, which is probably why I have always taken care of something or somebody, i.e., my horse, other household pets, my brother, and eventually, my grandmother. I was her sole caregiver for six years, which led me to realize this desire to nurture and care for those around me. My brother, who is now a nurse in California, and knowing how compassionate and caring a person I am, encouraged me to pursue an education in nursing as well, which seemed to make sense to me and felt like it was the natural career choice for me. I am excited about my future and being able to provide a better future for my two girls. I want to become the kind of nurse that is kind, caring, compassionate, patient, respectful and a good listener, and even though my patients may not remember my name, they hopefully will remember the way I made them feel.

Name:(and age) Erin M. Bahner, 40 years of age

Years working as a nurse: None yet except as a nursing student

Current position: Full-time nursing student

What brought you into the nursing profession?

As I mentioned above, I have always been a caring and compassionate person, and it seems I have always taken care of something or someone. It is just my nature. I was the sole caregiver of my grandmother for six years, and after she passed away, my brother encouraged me to pursue a career in nursing. That is what brought me to where I am today. It just seemed like a natural fit.

Where did you get your nursing degree?

I don’t have one as yet. I will graduate in the fall of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Random fact/hobby:

I have a real love for all animals, but especially horses. I grew up with horses and competed in dressage as a young girl. It is something I would like to get back into after I finish nursing school.

Biggest career challenge and how you’ve overcome it (or how you are currently working to overcome):

 I would say that the biggest challenge I have had to face in nursing school is just having confidence in myself and my nursing skills and abilities. I would have to say that I am overcoming that obstacle through learning and first-hand experience. The saying, “Experience is the best teacher” is so true.

Any projects on your desk right now?

Yes…tons and tons of homework!

Do you have a blog or website you would like us to feature?

Not at this time.

What item is most useful to you as a nurse? (What piece of equipment or clothing could you NOT do your job without?)

Right now, with the limited experience I have so far, I would have to say my stethoscope.

Do you have a fondest memory or favorite nursing experience?

Yes. The day I teamed up with one of my fellow students at a mental facility was one of the most impactful and rewarding experiences I have had thus far. My heart went out to so many of the patients in there and I found myself listening to their stories, caring about their situations, and trying to help them feel that they mattered…they had value. I will never forget that day. It has forever shaped me and the kind of nurse, and more importantly, the kind of person I always want to strive to be.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to become a nurse, a student nurse or a seasoned nurse who has helped you along the way?

To always, always treat your patients and others with respect…to always be kind, caring, compassionate, patient, a good listener, and let them know and feel that they are the most important person in the room at that time. They deserve no less.