Brandi Borden thought about becoming an RN for years before she finally pursued a career in nursing. Her interest was first sparked while she worked as a lighting, camera and production assistant for film and television. She knew several nurses and would also chat with medics on the set. Their stories and passion for patient care planted a seed.
"It was always intriguing to me to be one of those people who cared for people," Borden said.
She recently achieved her goal of becoming an RN, and in August she began work as a trauma ICU staff nurse at University Medical Center in New Orleans. Next, Borden will earn her bachelor's degree in nursing through the University of Louisiana at Lafayette online RN to BSN program. She enrolled in her first online course in October.
Though her career change was a long time in coming, her first nursing job already has her excited about what's ahead.
"There are a lot of new nurses right now, which is good because we're all learning," she said. "I have a lot to be thankful for so I'm usually smiling. I absolutely love it. I'm super happy."
Right Place, Right Time
Borden didn't exactly seek out a career behind the camera. It came to her by chance.
She was waiting tables to earn a living at the time, shortly after leaving her job at a Saturn car dealership in Ventura, California. One night while she was over at a friend's house, the phone rang. It was a mutual acquaintance, a former Saturn coworker who also worked on film crews. He called her friend looking for a last-minute camera department sub, and to Borden's surprise, she was volunteered for the role.
Her fill-in gig as a crew member on a Power Rangers shoot led to more opportunities, and she went on to work in the industry for a decade. Borden eventually earned her union card during her time on set in Los Angeles and various locations and worked behind the scenes on a variety of projects. They include the hit movies Stuart Little 2 and Love Don't Cost a Thing, and the award-winning indie film Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Borden is often surprised to meet other nurses who used to work in the film industry, including two from her ADN program. However, she also finds many similarities in the way creative and nursing crews work together.
"I absolutely love camaraderie — I love working as a team. You get the pulling together and everybody working together for something bigger than just their department or themselves," she said.
RN at Last
Borden flirted with the idea of starting nursing school shortly after leaving the entertainment industry, but her new husband's military career took her to Germany, and they quickly started a family.
"I wound up not doing it because life gets in the way," she said. "You put things on hold and you don't think about them because you're paying your bills and doing other things."
When the marriage ended in divorce, Borden decided to return to the States with her young son, Tristan. Once they settled in with her parents in Covington, Louisiana, she enrolled in the Charity School of Nursing at Delgado Community College.
Borden graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in May 2019. She also served as president of the college's student nursing association. She's currently the editor of Horizons, a publication of the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses where she serves as a board member.
Borden believes that becoming a nurse at 45 has influenced her attitude toward patients and her ability to understand their needs. She feels that her long journey to nursing and the obstacles she has faced give her additional empathy and insight.
"I think that being older, you have this past life that is part of you," she said. "In the job, you understand things because you have life experience. I think I'm a lot more sensitive and I have a different perspective versus when I was younger."
While she initially found going back to school a challenge, in the end she believes her experience also helps her succeed as a student.
"Anything that you've done in your past has molded you to the person you are now," she said. "I feel like I'm a lot more focused on what I want. For me it's just been a blessing to be able to finish nursing school and work."
New Life, New Dreams
Borden earned her ADN in an on-campus nursing program, but she felt an online BSN program would be the best fit for her new life. Studying online will help her balance work, school, and time with Tristan, who is now 7 years old.
She chose UL Lafayette for the convenience and reputation of its online RN to BSN program and the support available to online students.
"The application process was super easy. Everyone has been really good about communication. UL Lafayette has been extremely fast," she said. "Everything's been great."
She also appreciated being able to begin her BSN studies right away.
"I like the five different start dates," she said. "That was a big deciding factor for me. Being able to start in October is a better schedule than a semester schedule."
As Borden looks forward to the challenge of earning her bachelor's degree, she also takes time to reflect on how far she has come. She is enjoying the life her new career makes possible.
"For the first time since my divorce I'm able to provide for me and my child," she said. "I'm thankful for the things that happened and I've definitely learned from them. I'm thankful for everybody who helped me get here."
Learn more about the UL Lafayette online RN to BSN program.
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