Are leaders born or made? After experts have written hundreds of books and performed decades of well-documented research, the nature vs. nurture debate rages on. I believe it is a little of both, with an emphasis on nurture. Although my innate leadership traits and life experiences contributed to my career successes thus far, I will greatly benefit from deeper learning and guidance from graduate study at California State University of Sacramento (CSUS). CSUS remains an ideal place of learning for me because of its reputation for providing quality education and rigorous nursing programs. Plus, I am a CSUS alumnus. Most importantly, I believe the graduate program at CSUS will provide the tools for me to be a more capable leader, increase influence in patient care and be a better patient advocate, helping me achieve my goal of becoming a clinical nurse specialist.
My leadership traits emerged at a young age as I faced challenging family circumstances early in life. My family and I were refugees who suffered persecution, escaped war-torn communist Vietnam, and were displaced to refugee camps for several years before receiving asylum in the United States. Starting over in a foreign land was beyond difficult. My parents struggled to provide the basics for a family of seven. They depended on me to serve as an interpreter in public. By age 20, I founded my own business, providing word processing services to environmental agencies. Recognizing that education represents the key to success, I became a first-generation college graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in management. As a project manager, I led a development team to build nearly a thousand housing units, providing homes for low-income families. After spending some time to raise a family, I was called to nursing, a career that evidently demands a great amount of leadership traits to attain and an even greater amount to maintain.
Leadership traits I developed through my life experiences served me well in nursing and mentorship. I was assigned as charge nurse shortly after being hired at Orchard Hospital, a critical access hospital in the rural town of Gridley, California. As the charge, I am able to care for more patients and appreciate the bigger picture in the delivery of care, assuming greater responsibilities and overseeing the entire acute care unit. My leadership strengths were especially vital during the Camp Fire when I took charge with an emergency intubation, saving the patient. I also volunteer to mentor nursing students at American River College, demonstrating nursing skills and techniques, reviewing best practices, and verifying competency for clinical rotations. Being charge nurse and mentoring nursing students are rewarding roles that I want to develop. While some leaders may be born, I can say with certainty that my circumstances and experiences made me into the leader I am today. Pursuing an advanced-practice degree will mold me into an even better leader and grant me opportunities to deliver high-quality nursing care to patients and better mentor nurses at the leadership level.