The Nurse Becoming Podcast 

#027 Bad Decisions with Katie Duke

Katie Duke never wanted to be a nurse. She wanted to be Indiana Jones. How fun is that?

“I got over the fact that Indiana Jones wasn’t realistic, so I thought about becoming a lawyer or a forensic psychiatrist. I really didn’t have that one thing I set my mind to. I didn’t have a lot of direction for most of my life,” she said. “I was taking classes at a community college in a culinary program. Nursing really found me.”

Her dad was a physics professor for years, and her mom worked as a nurse educator, and after high school, Katie received an offer from a top 20 university. She was all set! Yet, through a series of what she refers to as Bad Decisions, she found herself living with an abusive boyfriend, working two low-wage jobs, and barely scraping by. 

One night after a particularly nasty encounter, Katie remembers sitting on the couch in their dilapidated apartment, barely watching the late night infomercials that flashed across the television screen. It was divine intervention — she saw a commercial for a local nursing program, and the next day, she went to the school and filled out a paper application. 

“This is the stuff I was ashamed to talk about for so many years. I was so ashamed that I had all these nontraditional paths to where I ended up. Society loves to tell us that we should have everything figured out, be married, have kids, be financially stable all before we’re 30. That doesn’t happen for everybody, but society makes us feel bad when we aren’t there.”

And why should we? There’s no one right answer, one right path, one right point we should all strive to reach. There’s only ours — the good and the bad —and we only hurt ourselves by not owning that! 


Listen to more episodes here!