Ft. Myers Nursing Graduate Finds 'True Calling' in Second Career

ft myers nursing student

Typically, the results of personality or career aptitude tests should be taken with a grain of salt.

But, Rasmussen College graduate Patrick Joyce can look back on the results of an aptitude test he took while attending school to become a police officer as a clear sign of his true calling. According to the test results Joyce’s top occupational suggestion was nursing, while police officer was around fifth.

“Hindsight being 20/20, I should have taken that test as a sign of fate,” Joyce says.

Joyce finally embraced that fate after 10 years as a uniformed police officer and he’s now working as a nurse at Gulf Coast Medical Center. Joyce’s career switch was a nontraditional path to a nursing career but it’s one that demonstrated his determination and commitment to his true calling.

His time at Rasmussen College provided him the pathway to a rewarding career.

Making the change—seamlessly

Joyce spent ten years working as a police officer, and after taking early retirement from police work he was looking for a new path. He worked for four years in logistics for General Electric, but found himself missing the variety of human interaction he had while working as a police officer. He also missed the sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with helping others in his community. It was then that Joyce knew he wanted to make the switch to nursing and started looking into schools around the Ft. Myers, Fla., area.

The one name that kept sticking out was Rasmussen College.

Joyce wasn’t without concern, however. It had been several years since he last attended school and was a little anxious to see if he’d still be able to keep up with his classmates, especially with the changes in technology. Joyce says although he was unfamiliar with some of the new technology like online classes, the instructors and support staff made sure he could keep up.

“They took the extra time for me when I needed it and explained everything when I needed help with a process,” Joyce says. “They were just fantastic.”

“You become a part of their family or life, and sharing in that [emotion] with another human being is beautiful, despite the bad circumstance.”

Joyce’s work ethic and his instructor’s real-world experience and connections helped him land a job as a student nurse at Gulf Coast Medical Center while attending Rasmussen College.

While the job was a blessing, it did add another layer of difficulty for Joyce, who now had to find ways to adjust and balance the responsibilities of work, school and home life. At times he had to get creative to make sure he could fulfill all of his responsibilities.

One of his favorite strategies for mixing schoolwork with family time was enlisting the help of his daughter to make note cards and other study aides.

“There is a balance to be found, and sometimes your responsibilities are going to overlap,” Joyce says. “But as long as that time where it overlaps is used constructively, it will work out.”

Working part time while attending school was demanding, but by getting his foot in the door with that job he was able to make another seamless transition to being a full time nurse at that facility after graduating in 2012.

The joys (and challenges) of a new career

Nursing is an emotional line of work, no matter what the specialization. Every day you are working with patients who are in a vulnerable position and with that vulnerability comes a variety of emotions. Some patients are frustrated or angry; others want to be left alone. What Joyce found was that most are just scared and in need of support. This is what makes nursing so rewarding for Joyce. But the emotions that come with the job are also a huge part of the challenge.

“You really need to have patience for your patients,” Joyce says.

That patience is essential when interacting with patients who may be misinformed and stressed about their illness. Joyce says the key is to educate patients about their situation and what can be done to help.

As a nurse, it’s common to get to know patients and their families very well, so the experience of seeing a family deal with losing a loved one that you’ve been caring for can be challenging. Joyce says that although it’s difficult to see families struggle with their loss, the experience is strangely rewarding.

“You become a part of their family or life, and sharing in that [emotion] with another human being is beautiful, despite the bad circumstance,” Joyce says. “It’s a very powerful feeling having that connection and helping families grieve.”

The emotional nature of nursing has Joyce energized about his new career. In fact, despite his inexperience in the field, he says he enjoys nursing more than he ever did police work. It looks like the aptitude test he took years ago may have been a more valid predictor than Joyce could have ever imagined.

Moving forward

Joyce is currently working toward earning his master’s degree, with the hope of someday becoming a nursing instructor. He hopes to not only pass on the technical competencies needed to be a nurse, but also the attitude necessary to succeed in the field.

His advice for nursing students is fairly universal: be humble; maintain your sense of humor; and, be patient with yourself.

Joyce says that he hopes that advice will serve as a guideline for future nurses who need help handling the components of nursing you won’t find in the textbooks—unless, of course, he gets around to writing a book about his experiences as a nurse.

“I’d love for someone to sit down and read it just so people will understand more about being human to other people,” Joyce says. “You never know what other people are going through in their lives.”

Does your current job leave you wishing for more fulfilling work? A degree in nursing could be your ticket to a rewarding career, both financially and emotionally. If you’re not sure if nursing is for you, try our career aptitude test to get a better idea of which fields match your skills.

About the author

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen University. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


Related Content

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-post-grad-np chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star