I wanted to be a nurse from the time I was a child. In fact, even at the age of five I was so committed to learning the things a nurse needs to know that I tricked my sister into letting me poke her with a sewing needle! Nursing is everything I expected, and then some. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to say that you've helped a person who is suffering or lonely or dying. I think the best nurses are bright, caring people who are willing to give of themselves to help others -- gender doesn't matter. And in 20 years, I've never been without a job. So I would say nursing is a very secure profession. One patient in particular sticks in my mind -- an elderly man who required ventilatory support following surgery. Because he had emphysema he could not be `weaned' from the ventilator. For three months I took care of him during every shift I worked and got to know him and his family very well. We tried everything we could to help him breathe without the ventilator, to no avail. Finally, he and his family decided that it was time to take the ventilator away and let nature take its course. I kept him as comfortable as possible while he died, and the experience -- aside from providing me with gratification because I knew I'd really helped another human being -- spurred me to specialize in pulmonary nursing so that I could perhaps help prevent others from suffering the same fate.