Here’s my second contribution to this month-long blog challenge. If you already subscribe to the Provocative Joy newsletter, you know what I’m introducing! If you haven’t subscribed to my monthly update, you can find the sign-up box at the end of this post (it even counts as an entry in the giveaway). It’s where I get a little more personal, share blog-news and how I’m living out what I write about.

I’m linking up today (as well as this post on premarital counseling last week). This is a link-up and collaboration through the month of February where we blog about love, secrets, relationships, and a lot more. You can find the full list of prompts and rules here. There’s also a giveaway you can enter below!

Role Models… They’re everywhere!

Thanks to the wealth of knowledge that lies at my fingertips via the Internet, I’ll never be at a loss for role models. But when I think of who has impacted my life the most, it’s not the ones I heard about on the Internet, read about in a book, or watched a film documentary of their life. The ones who influenced me most are the ones I have worked with and learned from.

In the midst of our working relationship, I would have called these individuals mentors. Now our paths have diverged, and they still inspire me and give me a guide and standard for the level of work I am called to do. The following individuals have shaped and influenced who I am today!

KJ Gursslin, my nursing preceptor as a graduate nurse

I have never met a nurse quite like Kelly Jo. I spent a short time with her compared to the big picture of my entire nursing career, but the first nurse you work with as a graduate can teach you a lot. I got a very close look at how she treated her patients. I had a rough start the first few months as a registered nurse, more than most, but she boldly called me towards greater competence and deeper critical thinking.

My work with Mercy Ships has introduced me to so many caring, sacrificial nurses, but KJ was unique. She was always looking out for the patient’s well-being, and seemed especially tuned in to their potential psychological/social/emotional needs. She always took the time to go above and beyond for a patient. A variety of nurses may have cared well for a patient over the course of several days, but when KJ took over that patient, she thought of things that no one else had considered. She was always brutally honest, yet she respected and offered dignity to her patients.

From KJ, I saw how a good sense of humor and a can-do attitude made a difference in the care of vulnerable patients. She showed me that you can be a laid-back nurse AND strive for excellence in the care that you provide.

Jonathan Walton, the director of Intervarsity’s New York City Urban Project (NYCUP)

This is someone who inspires me continually even though it’s been 5+ years since we’ve worked together. I met Jonathan Walton early in my undergraduate schooling at an Intervarsity retreat. I participated in the NYCUP Spring Break program where I sat down and ate with a homeless man on the sidewalk for the first time. Doing that once would have been life-changing, but I did it quite a few more times after that with NYCUP. This program exists with this belief: “…every person is made in the image of God to flourish, work, rule and create and be stewards NOT consumers as God intended”. If Jesus is the man who changed the priorities of my life forever, then NYCUP is the avenue I journeyed down that clearly revealed the world’s brokenness to me for the first time.

Jonathan encourages everyone who goes through the NYCUP program to never be satisfied with the status quo. Just because the whole world does things a certain way, doesn’t mean that way is good enough. “What would it look like for us to change the culture of volunteering from one of constant consumption to consistent compassion rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

From Jonathan, I learned that I don’t have to accept the way things are in the world. I learned and experienced first-hand that everyone has a story and it doesn’t always match the one we expect them to have. In 2011, I was able to work with Jonathan and mentor students going through the summer program. I got an inside glimpse into the work it takes to mentor students and realized that, through God’s strength, you don’t have to be perfect to do that.

Florence Nightingale: the mother of nursing

A year and a half ago, I was assigned a final project to represent what I had learned at the Mercy Ships OnBoarding training program for long-term crew. I had learned about many leaders over the course of history that did beautiful, brave things, yet they all had glaring mistakes. Champions of the abolitionist movement that were against women’s rights, for example. However, as I studied, I felt really encouraged by all the examples history gives us of imperfect people changing the world. What a relief, because I am far from perfect!

I decided to craft my project as if Florence Nightingale was able to say a few more words about her legacy. I studied her story and found that she was rather counter-cultural. She went against the expectations that her family had for her to get married. She turned down 3 marriage proposals. She decided to become a nurse at a time when it wasn’t a respectable field, especially not for someone of her socioeconomic status. She ignored what people thought she was supposed to do.

As you may or may not know, she changed the image and essence of nursing forever. What you may not know, is that she did so largely because of her Christian faith. Before her nursing career, she studied Hebrew so that she could understand the Bible better. She wrote poetry, knew 4 languages and collected sea shells. She was a powerhouse with a seemingly abundant life.

Even though I won’t meet her in this life, her dedication paved the way for me to follow my own vocation and passions. Her path was not free of mistakes, either. There are records of her driving the nurses under her tutelage ruthlessly, asking for utmost devotion to their jobs on the war fields. Yet, she accomplished something great. I’m both grateful to her, as well as in admiration of her.

Role Models

These are a few role models for my career and work as a nurse, although what I learned from Jonathan crosses over into my life of faith as well. At this time, my work life and faith life crosses over quite a bit. I could list even more that inspire my Christian faith. I’ve written a whole post about the 3 couples that inspire my marriage.

Are your role models people you know personally or people you’ve read about or heard of? Do you know about the weaknesses of your role models? Does that make them more or less of a role model? Feel free to answer in the comments!

 Meet Your #LoveBlog2017 Hosts

Ivanna is a registered nurse with a large dose of colorful creativity. She writes at Provocative Joy while working overseas with Mercy Ships. She enjoys the art of head wrapping and the thrill of thrifting. She writes about living intentionally in community, in marriage, and the challenges of making a difference no matter which country she’s in.

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Kayla is a 20-something professional and grad student living in a small college town in the Atlanta-area with her hubby and their furbaby, Courage. She enjoys burritos, coffee, and Chickfila. Her favorite past-times include binge-watching television shows and binge-reading thrillers. She runs the lifestyle blog a paper arrow.

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Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.


Charlene is a 20 something wife and fur mama living in Ohio. She uses her blog, “Enduring All Things” to inspire young wives to keep God first and their husbands second in everything they do.

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11 comments on “3 Role Models To Inspire My Career”

  1. I love this post. I think it’s so wonderful you chose a few people who were your mentors but are now colleagues. It’s so inspiring to know you can truly learn from and develop from selecting effective role models.

  2. The mission of that program you were involved with is SO awesome: “…every person is made in the image of God to flourish, work, rule and create and be stewards NOT consumers as God intended”.
    Amen! How cool that you’ve had these wise and effective people to inspire you along in your career. I married a nurse, although when we decided to move overseas, he was no longer able to work as a nurse because our chosen country doesn’t offer medical work visas. However, he’s found a surprising number of opportunities to use the skills he used to use in a hospital in the homes of people in our community–maybe cleaning wounds and teaching wound care to a homebound diabetic neighbor–it’s truly a skill and a calling that’s always in use, even when it’s not a full-time career at the moment.

    • Doesn’t that difference between being stewards vs consumers change everything?! When I read the quote, I almost start to bristle when it says we are to “rule” but then I read on…

  3. Writing about role models is such a cool idea. Yours are so inspiring! If I had to pick mine, I think they would be my mom, Beyonce, and my marriage and family therapy supervisor. Those are definitely 3 women that I really look up to both personally and professionally. Thanks for joining the Thursday Three Link Up! I hope to see your posts again in the future 🙂


    • Allison, I wish I could meet any of those three role models you listed. Especially Beyonce!! Thank you!

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