A career in nursing was ingrained in my family.
My mother was a registered nurse and six of my 10 siblings are
nurses—some entering second careers later in life. Handwashing,
first aid and mitered corners on made beds were second nature
I chose nursing as my career path in 1963
because I wanted a profession that I could be proud of and make
a difference in the lives of others. At that time in our history
there were really very few choices readily available to women that
offered those kinds of careers and I wanted to experience college
life in the pursuit of that education.
I chose nursing, rather than social work or
becoming a teacher, because I thought there were probably a lot
of avenues to pursue once I had the education. I could go in a
lot of different directions in research or teaching, or patient care.
Nursing lent itself to a lot of avenues for a woman in those days.
Reality vs. Expectations
When I started out, I really had no idea what to expect,
only that I knew it was exactly what I was called to do. Job
opportunities in the field of nursing seemed endless. In my
career, and especially from my experiences working 17 years
in a rural hospital, I had many great opportunities to work
in so many areas of nursing. I never would have had those
opportunities in a larger urban setting. I worked the majority of
my career as a nurse leader/administrator. What surprised me was
Reflections on Nursing
Editor’s Note: We invited three interviewees, who have close ties to USD Nursing as
alumni, instructors and/or administrators, to discuss their lives and careers with us.
We asked them about their reasons for becoming nurses, how nursing has changed
over the years and what the future of the profession will look like.
Nancy Nelson graduated from
USD with her nursing degree in
She is the administrative
director of patient care services
at Rapid City Regional Hospital
RCRH), and was appointed to a
three-year term on the Board of
Nursing by Gov. Dennis Daugaard
effective July 14, 2011.
Kathy Manning graduated
from USD with her nursing
degree in 1983. She joined the
USD Nursing faculty in 2001,
laying much of the foundation
for distance learning within
the department. She currently
serves as the director of
P.K. Holmes was
a member of the
nursing faculty at
USD for nearly 40
years before her
retirement in 2001.