You are never too old to follow your dreams. That is what Mark Cavender, a now 56-year-old nursing student at the University of Central Arkansas.
Mark Cavender lost his wife to cancer.
Mark Cavender sadly lost his wife to cancer several years ago. But the efforts of the nurses who cared for his wife made a huge impression on Mark. So much so, that he is going back to school to become a nurse himself.
“The nurses, they were the key to all of our successes and what we were doing, and so I wanted to help other people who experience what I experienced,” said Mark.
Mark had been working as a safety inspector, but put any plans of retiring clear out of view. Focused on his new dream, he is all-in on working towards his goal.
He decided to go back to school to be a nurse.
Mark, at the age of 54, went back to school to pursue his new career. As a non-traditional student, Mark is easily the age of some of his other classmate’s grandparents. The program is not easy and there are some difficulties that he has had to work through.
“I get some funny looks sometimes, but I look back funny and it works,” said Mark.
He is working through his clinical courses including simulation in labor and delivery and general surgery. He has decided to wait on choosing his career path after graduating until after he has completed these courses.
“I’m kind of waiting to see which one moves me the most,” said Cavender.
He may work in a nursing home assisting the elderly or in an emergency room saving people’s lives who are on the line. No matter what, Mark has the passion to continue his courses and his career. With a personal interested invested, his goal is clear.
He is planning to graduate in May 2021.
The Director of Nursing, Susan Gotto, at the University of Central Arkansas is excited for Mark and his passion for pursuing his dream. She goes on to explain that the country is experiencing a shortage of nurses and Mark is helping to fill that need.
Susan explains, “There’s a very severe nursing shortage nationwide. Nursing schools are struggling to keep up.”
A large part of the nursing shortage that the United States is facing is due to an aging population and workforce. The number of open nursing positions is expected to grow at a 15% faster rate than any other career by 2026. With these staggering numbers, even one person’s decision to pursue such an important career will make a difference in countless lives.
“It’s never too late. It takes a decision, brains, and heart,” said Susan Gotto.
Follow your dreams, no matter what it takes. This many is a living example of showing that hard work and dedication will get you where you want to be.
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