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If you have ever experienced any type of medical treatment, you’ve certainly come across a nurse.

With close to 4 million nurses in the country, it is one of the most rewarding career choices, with abundant job opportunities in a variety of unique environments.

I began my career in a hospital setting, where I spent seven years as a bedside nurse. Working three days a week, I quickly realized there was much more involved than the convenience of great shifts.

Nurses spend more time with patients than anyone on the health care team, so we become their greatest advocate and grow close with them and their families. The responsibility, however, of caring for a critically ill, surgical, dying or pediatric patient is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for everyone.

In my next position, I was involved with electronic medical record implementation, leadership and patient navigation. Each job was different from the next, but all allowed me to continue to be a nurse. While not always at someone’s bedside, the decisions made in those positions still required my nursing knowledge and skills and ultimately impacted patient care.

I have spent the past 11 years in a growing outpatient clinic setting. As my family grew and my kids got older, I needed to create a work/life balance that would enable me to be the best at my greatest position in life — being a mom and a wife.

Despite the large community footprint, this outpatient setting provides structure and is more conducive for my family, while also providing me with another avenue to practice nursing. As a leader in an outpatient clinic, I oversee nursing staff, implement and supervise daily operations and ensure our patients experience high-quality and compassionate care.

Through my career, I’ve been inspired by many patients. I’ve also learned the field of nursing has many paths and endless opportunities. Nursing can be challenging, but it is always rewarding. I feel privileged to be able to say that I’m a nurse.

Amber Porter, R.N., is the nurse manager at Marshall Health’s department of orthopaedics. She has been part of the Marshall Health family for nearly 12 years.

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