The second career nurse

xSecond career nurseMy mother, Leigh Ann Tovar, is a nurse. She has always inspired in me a love for lifelong learning. What I didn’t know? I had inspired her to become a nurse at the age of 60.

My mother has always had a business mind and obtained a BA in Business. She moved up to a management position with a national telecommunications company. I obtained a BSN degree right out of high school. One day, my mother called and invited me to her graduation. I said “What do you mean you are graduating? What have you been up to??” She said she just completed a master’s degree in organizational development. I thought, “Wow! If she can do it, I can do it.” I immediately made the decision to obtain a master’s degree in nursing.


After many years with the telecommunications company, my mom was laid off. During her job search in the business world, we would talk often about career ideas. Once I half-jokingly said, “You should become a nurse.” I described my experiences in the hospital and school health, the flexibility nursing had to offer, and the many opportunities within the profession to combine past degrees and experience with nursing. She said no.


Two months later, my mom surprised me with her decision to pursue a degree in nursing. What a journey! We have spent many hours discussing obstacles she has overcome such as retraining her thought processes, learning pronunciation of medical terms, and test anxiety. Throughout the process to obtain her nursing degree, she became a licensed practical nurse at 58 years of age, a registered nurse at 60, and completed an RN to BSN program at 62. Her accomplishments have inspired me to keep learning, setting goals and reaching them.

Because of her awesome example, I have enrolled in a PhD in nursing program and will complete this degree by next year. After 40 years of a wonderful mother-daughter relationship, it’s a great feeling to add another dimension to our relationship – a dimension of nursing fellowship. My mother often tells people she has followed her daughter’s footsteps into nursing.

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Lisa Jaurigue

Lisa Jaurigue, RN, MSN is an Assistant Professor at Grand Canyon University College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

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8 Responses to The second career nurse

  1. Great write up, Lisa!

  2. Sharon


    What a beautiful story and a wonderful Mother’s Day tribute.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Pat Shannon

    Lisa – what a lovely testimony on your interdependent mother-daughter relationship – it would be a great story at any time of year – but even more so at Mothers’ Day. I am sure your Mom will be beaming with pride at your next graduation!!

  4. Marti Schlagel

    I am so pleased you have shared you and your mother’s journey. I am also pleased you introduced her to nursing. Nursing is the lucky profession to have her and you.
    Again, thanks for sharing,
    Marti Schlagel

  5. Dean Sally Brosz Hardin

    Congratulations to both you and your Mom, Lisa!!

  6. Patti Stoffers

    Lisa, what a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. You truly demonstrate your love and respect for each other.

  7. sherri spicer

    Lisa: You have done your Momma proud, I am certain. What a great example of mutually inspiring one another! Thank you for sharing with the nursing community.

  8. Aida L. Arnaldy

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story.
    I became a nurse when I was 54 and I felt it had been a mistake because of my age. I felt out of place , up to this very moment.