Nursing graduate finds home in second career 

April 23, 2010

SAN ANTONIO – Certain moments define a person’s life, forever changing the course of their journey. For Diane Grimm, that moment came at the birth of her twins in 2002.

Before that, Grimm had been fairly content in her job as an events coordinator at Texas State University in San Marcos, where she earned her undergraduate degree. She and husband Hilmar live on a farm between New Braunfels and Seguin and were married 10 years before they had children.

All was going well until at 29 weeks, twins Sadie and Emmit decided to make their entrance into the world. Though the Grimms had already planned for Diane to stay home with the babies, their next few months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit would make it nearly mandatory.

But when Grimm left the hospital a few months later with her children in tow, she took something else with her: a dream for a new career path.

“That whole experience (with the babies) is what made me decide to be a nurse,” said Grimm, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Wayland Baptist University in February 2010. “I felt like I needed to give back what was given to us. Those people cared for my husband and I as well as those babies.”

Though she chewed on the idea for a while before mentioning the nursing thought to Hilmar, Diane said she knew the leaning was too heavy for it to be a coincidence. He gave her his blessing and encouraged her to pursue the nursing degree. She opted to wait until the twins entered kindergarten in 2007.

Diane was set to apply to another university when a friend suggested she check out Wayland and its new nursing program, then in its early years. The location of the campus and the program was more appealing to her, so she applied immediately and went through orientation on her 38th birthday.

She soon got a full-time job at the Northeast Methodist Hospital just down the interstate from Wayland’s campus in San Antonio as an emergency room technician, staying on after graduation as an ER nurse. Class work and nursing clinicals consumed her weekdays, and her weekends were committed to three 12-hour days at the hospital job.

The first two years of nursing school were spent on class work, with some visits to nearby hospitals for field experiences. The final year was mostly clinical rotations for hands-on practicum experiences in the nursing world.

During school, the hospital job helped pay for part of her education, and her husband helped greatly with the household chores while she worked on the intensive nursing degree.

“When I finished, it wasn’t just me finishing this degree,” she laughed. “It’s been a family effort. I couldn’t have done it without my husband. He really stepped up.”

Despite the hard work, long hours and little sleep, Grimm said she knows she made the right move.

“Nursing was an opportunity for me to pay it forward. Everybody wants to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said, noting a particular passion for serving in trauma environments. “They get to take someone’s most pressing moments and share that with them. If I can make that difference for one person, them I’m doing what I was supposed to do.”

From early on, Grimm said she had personal confirmation of her choice.

“(Nursing) was a match for me, definitely. It just clicked for me, and I absolutely knew I was supposed to do that,” she said. “Nursing has been so much more than I imagined it would be.”

Grimm said she found the nursing program at Wayland to be top-notch and with a select number of applicants allowed, the personal touch for which Wayland has prided itself for years was able to remain intact.

“I’m really glad I chose Wayland. The education I received is different than anywhere else. It’s more a small group with more one-on-one and hands-on teaching,” she said. “It was more demanding in a lot of ways, but more rewarding. I got the greatest education at Wayland, not just technical knowledge, but, more importantly, how to treat the person and their feelings and beliefs.”

Grimm also had high praise for her instructors at Wayland.

“All of the faculty want us to be successful, and we feel like they believe in us. There’s no way I could have gotten that elsewhere,” she said, noting that she hopes her story inspires others to reach for the dream, no matter what their age.

“I want to be an ambassador. I hope people can look at me and see that they can do it too,” she said. “I am so blessed.”