Cassondra Francis, BSN, RN, clinical nurse III in labor and delivery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, holds a Bachelor’s in Nursing from University of Delaware and has been a nurse for five years.

“I knew I would always do something where I would be helping people or animals but I didn’t know I would become a nurse until my freshman year at Delaware,” Francis says. “I feel like I literally woke up one day thinking, ‘I’m going to be a nurse.’ That was it.”

Francis says she had a rocky start since she didn’t pass her NCLEX right away.

“I’ve never been a good test taker but the fact that I didn’t pass right away really motivated me and stressed me out,” she says. “Once I passed my NCLEX I quickly became involved on the unit joining committees and participating in education. I became the chair of our units OR committee and worked toward climbing the nursing clinical ladder. I headed an EBP project which helped to initiate a CHG scrub to help prevent post-surgical infections on our unit. I am currently getting certified as a forensic nurse examiner.”

Francis says she loves her current position as a L&D nurse because she is around families every day that are welcoming the most important thing in their lives to the world. “I am able to do so many roles as a nurse in L&D and it’s very rewarding.”

She says she hasn’t faced any issues or problems as a minority nurse and has this advice for other minorities: “Further yourself and do what you love. Remember what nursing is and let any set back fuel you more for what you want.”

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Francis envisions starting as a SAFE nurse at Mercy and going back to school to get her master’s in public health within the next five years. She also plans to remain an L&D nurse – an area of nursing that she is passionate about.

Denene Brox is a freelance writer based in Kansas City.

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