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CU Nursing student Antoanela Findlay

From numbers cruncher to nurse – how one UCAN student discovered her passion and a second career

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Written by Dana Brandorff on December 10, 2020

For Antoanela Findlay, nursing was not her first career choice. “I was an accountant. I love numbers, but it is very impersonal, and there’s a lack of human connection that I craved.” Findlay thought she was destined to remain in accounting. However, a chance exposure to nursing through her daughter Sophia “turned my life around for the better.”

Hospital Stay Inspires Findlay to Pursue Nursing

When Sophia was 6-years-old, she was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she had a weeklong stay. “I loved the nurses there,” Findlay said. “They treated us all so well. At the time, I toyed with changing my career from accounting to nursing. But the 12-hour shifts were a deterrent -- especially being a single parent with two young children at home.” Nevertheless, healthcare continued to intrigue her.

Intent on figuring out which area of healthcare suited her, Findlay held a variety of positions, including as an office assistant in a chiropractic practice and medical assistant at an Ear, Nose & Throat office affiliated with Sky Ridge. “While working a couple of different jobs, I discovered that nursing is where my heart is,” she said. “Being with patients when they are the most vulnerable is humbling and appealing.” In the meantime, she enrolled at Arapahoe Community College and transferred to CU Denver where she earned a degree in Biology in 2018. Juggling parenting, work, and school, “was difficult.”

Daughter Proves Matchmaker

A fortuitous encounter would change the family’s lives forever. Once again, Sophia would prove instrumental in making a connection that would alter their path. While working on a science project with her best friend, Sophia introduced her mother to her best friend’s father. The two started dating and soon married. The family of three became five. Then, added another daughter in 2019, immediately before starting the UCAN program. “I reevaluated a career in nursing as I had support this time around. I also had twelve years of experience in parenting. With my husband and two sets of parents to help, this time was a totally different parenting experience,” she said.

Intimidated and a bit overwhelmed at the beginning of the program, “It was different than I thought it would be. Everyone in the program was absolutely amazing. I am blessed to be a part of this cohort.”

Topics: Students