You knew this day would come.

At least you hoped that it would.

After years of keeping papers and drawings created by your daughters when they were in elementary school, you had exactly the pictures and the words to match the event you wanted to create for your older daughter who was now graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As a college athlete, she had spent many hours a week working out in a chalky gym. She had been injured, she had recapped, and she had been injured again. When she finally found herself in the first line up of her freshman year and on the travel team heading across the country she was thrilled. On her second event, however, she landed wrong and again injured her ankle that had been surgically repaired two years earlier. Even with the injury she completed her balance beam, routine, staying on and scoring the highest mark for her college. Another surgery followed, however, and again she found herself doing range of motion testing and using physical therapy tools in the process to get back into the line up. It often took much of a calendar year to get back to where she wanted to be, but the four year college experience culminated in a great senior season.

As a result of all the injuries and work with physical therapy equipment and conversations about pain thresholds, it was no surprise that she went away to college thinking that she would end up in physical therapy school. In the end, however, she shifted her goals and decided to pursue a one year accelerated nursing degree which could take quick advantage of the Bachelor of Arts she had earned in biology while competing as a gymnast.

The World Needs More Health Care Workers

When it came time to celebrate this second graduation in less a little more than 12 months, you were quick to sift through the papers and find some of the stories she had written in elementary school about her hours in the gym and her days at the physical therapy clinic. In one of the drawings she had made she even went into detail explaining how the therapist’s manual muscle testing device helped her recover faster than she would have on her own. Her hometown physical therapist, who was by now a family friend, marveled at that drawing of the manual muscle testing device and remembered exactly how long it took him to answer all of the questions your young daughter had. He explained that even at a young age she wanted to know the exact names of the muscles she was hoping to strengthen, as well as understand how the manual muscle testing device would help achieve that goal.

When she was first learning about science and the human body she would spend hours creating elaborate drawings of different parts of the human body and its more than 650 muscles. If she would have gone to PT school she would have had a real head start on the exhaustive learning on muscles and their insertions and other details. In the end, however, she decided that a pediatric nurse was a more true calling for her and the fact that you had saved her written stories and carefully crafted drawings from her younger years was a great part of the celebration.

The latest career research indicates that there are approximately 200,000 physical therapists employed in the U.S. with an additional 60,000 projected to be added to the workforce in coming years. This number, however, pales in comparison to the millions of nurses. Your daughter loves the field of nursing and hopes to eventually become a nurse practitioner. This day, though, was about honoring her current achievements and recognizing her start in the health care field. From bedside nursing to the protocols for using manual muscle testing devices, the health care field is vast and you are proud of the fact that your daughter will be joining this noble profession.

You have kept papers for years, but everyone in your family was glad when they were able to revisit her elementary age fascination with her future career.

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