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Jeffrey Hallman, MSN, RN, Utilization Review Nurse III at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

June 2012

Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing and why?

A. I was about 10 years old when I first thought about a career in healthcare. I was in the hospital and had a great nurse with a caring and nurturing personality. She helped me take care of my stuffed animal, a chimpanzee affectionately known as "Clyde," in the same way that she was taking care of me. If I had an IV, Clyde had an IV. If I got an injection, Clyde got an injection. Sometimes he got his "treatment" first to ease my comfort level. Clyde even had his own armband while in the hospital. I remember my nurse telling me that I should consider becoming a nurse because I took such good care of Clyde. And that’s exactly what I did!

Q. What do you enjoy most about your profession?

A. I enjoy working with patients, their family members and my co-workers. They are the ones that you impact in ways that sometimes you don't even realize. Nursing is a very rewarding and humbling career. You see people come into the hospital sick, get intervention, and then they get better and go back to their lives and families as they knew it. You also see patients that come into the hospital but never leave again – they take their last breath and leave a loving family behind, sometimes with little notice. Those are the ones that make you go home and hug your wife, your children and be thankful for family, friends, independence, health, mental stability and so forth.

Q. What has been one of the greatest moments of your career?

A. I would have to say that when I received my Master's Degree in Nursing Administration, it was one of my greatest personal achievements to date. I had young children at home and worked full-time while being a full-time student. I had to make many sacrifices while I was in school, but I kept my eyes fixed on the prize – a MSN degree that would take my career to a new level once completed. I knew the journey would be so worth it in the end. It was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment!

I remember feeling a huge weight lifted and being quite emotional, not only because I was done with school, but also because I was breaking out of a mold in a family that did not have advanced or graduate degrees. I have now set an example to my children that through determination, perseverance and hard work, anything you set your sights on is possible.

Q. What advice would you offer to men interested in entering the nursing profession?

A. Go for it – nursing is a great profession for men! You have the opportunity to spend close time with your patients and their families and build a rapport that doesn’t necessarily exist in other disciplines. There are also so many different jobs within the nursing field that you can pursue and the flexibility has been great in my own career. I have had the opportunity to work in many great positions during my 14 years of nursing, and all of them have had an impact on the nurse I am today. I have been an IV nurse in a community clinic, a staff nurse, a nursing supervisor, a training coordinator for Hospital Emergency Preparedness, a nurse manager, a clinical director in Patient Flow and currently work in the business side of nursing for the Medical Administration Service.

Q. How has nursing impacted your life?

A. Nursing has definitely shaped me into the person I am today. I know that every day when I go to work I am making a difference in someone's life. I know that I have the opportunity to impact a life today, tomorrow, and in the future, and that alone gives me great fulfillment.

I recently served as a Voting Delegate at the American Nurses Association (ANA) House of Delegates meeting in Washington, D.C. It was a wonderful experience, seeing nurses come together from all across the country and work toward a common goal. Nursing is who I am. I identify with nurses, I recruit for nursing, I have dedicated my life to nursing, and as long as I have the chance, I will continue to represent this profession to the very best of my ability.

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