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Local nurse finds passion in her work

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AMARILLO - It's a career path with plenty of opportunities available in our area right now, but nursing not a job everyone has the patience for.

Sunday is the start of National Nurse Appreciation Week, but one local pediatric nurse says the feeling she gets when she helps children is all the thanks she needs.

"If you're going to go into nursing, it needs to be something that's in your heart that you really want to do. You can't go into a nursing field thinking that you're going to do it for salary, for money," Texas Tech Health Science Center Pediatric Nurse Debbie Nash said.

Search any local medical facility, you'll likely to find dozens of nursing positions.

"Nursing is in high demand," Nash said. "But it's not for everyone."

Nash never thought she'd have the successful career she has today when she became pregnant at the age of 15.

By 21, she was a single mother of four, with an eighth grade education, and a desire to secure better future for her children.

"I had developed this passion for all of these babies that were in the NICU, and what are they doing to these babies, and what are they doing to my baby," Nash said.

After taking care of a chronically ill son for years, Nash says getting her GED, then nursing degree, was easy.

She's had the opportunity to counsel other teenage mothers while working in pediatrics and prove to them that it is possible to get an education and a rewarding career.

"It's just kind of neat to be able to use my past to counsel these young girls who feel like they're so distraught," Nash said.

Nash left pediatrics for a while to work as a geriatric nurse, but took a huge pay-cut to come back to working with children.

She says that although nursing is stable, well-paying career, those who try to fill the many local nursing openings shouldn't do it for the money.

"When I can see the smile from a child or a mom who pats you on the back or gives you a hug and says thank you. That's the best part about nursing," Nash said.

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