What does it mean to be a nurse? What are the challenges in nursing? Erin explains.

Updated: Jun 11

Conversation with Leaders: Today, we've invited Registered Nurse (RN) Erin Yoo to discuss some of the insights of being a healthcare professional.

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Q 1: What motivated you to pursue a career as a registered nurse?

Erin Yoo: I began my career in healthcare as a Pharmacy Technician and stayed in the industry ever since then. Following the Katrina Tornado disaster, I started paying more attention to individuals who were among the first to arrive in disaster areas to help those in need. I learned this story about a former nurse who launched her own bakery business and decided to temporarily shut down her store to help out those in need. These amazingly selfless acts of individuals inspired me to enter medicine and become a helper myself.

Q 2: What steps did you take to become a registered nurse?

Erin Yoo: It was rather simple. When I decided to go to nursing school, I knew I had to complete all of the prerequisites in order to be admitted into the program. So I began there, finished all of the prerequisites, and passed the admission test. After being accepted into the program, I spent several years studying and training before taking the nursing exam and obtaining my license.

But don't get me wrong, returning to school in my 30s and preparing for a licensure exam was really challenging. The biggest challenge for me, though, was deciding to return to school and sort out my finances for the next several years while I studied.

Q 3: What is your specialty in nursing? How did you choose your specialty? Did it require you to have certain experience prior to applying?

Erin Yoo: I specialize in chemotherapy nursing. Chemotherapy nursing is a specialty within oncology nursing. Chemotherapy nurses administer, monitor, and educate the patient receiving chemotherapeutic agents as ordered by physicians.

It requires a Chemotherapy License, numerous hours of clinical practice, and hands-on training in Oncology while working closely with experienced chemotherapy nurses.

Q 4: Do you have continuing education requirements to maintain or renew your license as a registered nurse?

Erin Yoo: Yes, an RN license renews every two years in the area of practice. We need to complete the 20 Contact Hours of Continuing Education (CE) requirements, including Forensic Evidence Collection for Nurses and Nursing Jurisprudence and Ethics for Texas Nurses.

Q 5: What are some of the challenges nurses face in their careers, and how do your work through them?

Erin Yoo: From the beginning to this day, the most challenging part is the emotional involvement created with patients. We often spend many of our shifts with patients in our care for weeks, if not months. And sometimes, we have to see them going through the terminal stages of their life. It never gets any easier.

However, it is also important to me as a nurse to maintain emotional resilience so I am able to provide the best care for the patients and their loved ones when they need me the most. I try to di