I fondly remember sitting in the waiting room for a scholarship that was offered to African American students to be of use for academic endeavors. I was waiting to be interviewed. However, I remember not feeling nervous and feeling confident that I would be able to answer any questions they may have for me. This surprised me then and surprises me now as an adult. At the aforementioned time, I was only 17 years of age and a senior in high school. There was one question, though, that I did not anticipate as I sat in a room of nurse leaders.

They asked me, “As a young African American like yourself, what do you see as the barriers to your success?”

I just looked one of the interviewers square in the eye and stated, “There are no barriers, from my point of view.”

I’ll never forget the interviewers being so shell-shocked. I do not think they expected this answer.

I explained, “Barriers are what we perceive them to be. If I do not perceive any, they simply do not exist.”

Now, as an African American nurse who has attained her baccalaureate and master’s degrees and is currently working on her doctorate, I see the importance of this idea in my life. The brain can perceive many things, and they may not necessarily be real. This has been proven true again and again in the perception of illusions, or tricks of the eye. The same proves true in the outlook of minority nursing students today. Merriam Webster confirms that constructs are the things created by the mind or the product of ideology, history, or social circumstances. You must remember that barriers to success are simply constructs, only true if you choose to accept them into your reality. Such barriers may come in the form of racism, a challenging nursing course, financial troubles, or other adversities. There may be difficulties, but there are always ways to overcome these difficulties as one strives to complete an entry-level nursing program or pursue an advanced degree in nursing.

I was awarded that scholarship. And to think, it was attributed to a positive idea that my mind constructed. As a result of this positive idea, I was able to have a generous contribution made toward my baccalaureate degree. Yes, my positivity was a source of success and continues to propel me forward in this great profession. Do not let constructs of the mind hold you back in achieving your own elaborate dream of success.

Tamara Jessica Brown

Tamara Jessica Brown, MSN, RN-BC, PCCN, CNE, CMSRN, is a nursing faculty member at New Jersey City University of Jersey City, New Jersey. She has eight years of experience in nursing with certifications in medical-surgical nursing, gerontological nursing, and progressive critical care. She is a certified nurse educator through the National League for Nursing and is currently a doctoral candidate of nursing education at NOVA Southeastern University.

Just Published!

The Minority Nurse Winter 2017-2018 issue is now available. Read the latest issue of Minority Nurse today.

Challenges Facing Nursing Students Today

Selecting the Right Nursing School

Why Nursing School Grades Don’t Matter

Surviving the First Year as a Nurse

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