STACI BUSH-WOOLEY: THE COLOR OF SUCCESS
"We are every woman, conquering daily challenges.."
The key to success is hustling 24-7. Staci Bush is Associate Director of Medical Affairs at an international bio-tech firm. She is a lesson in defining a career path and adapting to her environment on the road to success. She has helped to develop HIV programs in the US and internationally providing prevention and treatment education, access to medicine, and providing an advocate to those dealing with the illness and its stigma. She discusses her journey..
PLANNING AND PREPARATION
“I don’t think college is for everybody, for sure. For some it’s a perfect fit but there is no disgrace in getting into a trade school or career training as an alternative. I did both and, luckily for me, I can draw from both experiences in my current career. My nursing training is what launched me on the path to my current position. Whatever your choice, you have to have a plan for yourself. And you have to have it earlier, now, than ever before. And you’d better be prepared to tweak that plan if your market/profession dries up or moves overseas. Which is, unfortunately, more and more common.
THE MOTHER OF REINVENTION
I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies. After college, with no job prospects in my field, but had enough Math and Science hours to test for my teaching credentials. I was a high school Math and Science teacher for 10 years. While that paid SOME bills, I was still working at least one, sometimes two, other jobs to afford to do what I wanted to do. I was a waitress for years, during this period, as well. After teaching for years, I went back to school for nursing and got credentials in a whole different field. It was a great field for me and I eventually earned a position as a physician’s assistant. I was able to write prescriptions, see patients, etc. Being a nurse practitioner was the ideal field for me for a number of reasons. You can power through your studies, no residency is required once you graduate, and I didn’t have nearly the number of student loans a doctor would carry. Also, nurse practitioners have the flexibility to work within a number of medical disciplines where doctors and specialists can’t.
It was a great field for me and I eventually earned a position as a physician’s assistant. I was able to write prescriptions, see patients, etc. Being a nurse practitioner was the ideal field for a number of reasons. You can power through your studies, no residency is required once you graduate, and I didn’t have nearly the number of student loans a doctor would carry. Also, nurse practitioners have the flexibility to work within a number of medical disciplines where doctors and specialists can’t.
BE OPEN TO UPDATING YOUR PATH TO SUCCESS
I know a few people that worked in major car manufacturing cities who got laid off from their jobs and made terrible decisions with their severance packages. Some took their money and blew it on Range Rovers with no idea what their next step would be. The smart ones took their buy outs and went back to school to learn a new vocation. In Detroit they had a lot of guys that went to CNA and nursing school because there was high demand for nurses, especially male nurses. So the question should be asked “What would be better for the long term, going to some kind of training program or getting a Range Rover?”
MAKE WORK WORK FOR YOU
You’re less likely to stumble into a job that will allow you to provide for your family, or buy a car or a house. You have to have vision on where you see yourself in a year, three years or five. And you have to set checkpoints for yourself along the way to ensure that, even if you’re waitressing at the time, you are taking steps to get to your real destination. Be that going back to school, interning somewhere… whatever it takes to make progress. With nursing credentials, I was able to transition into a field where there was high demand but less people to fill the positions. So much so that companies were offering to pay off the student loans of potential employees as an incentive to attract qualified people.” I relocated to Chicago from California and started work with high-risk individuals in HIV education with zero school debt. I’ve since transitioned to my current firm in San Francisco.
Medicine became my hustle. This zone is where I thrive professionally and financially. Not only that, but there is great reward for the spirit. I love being involved in research, education and treatment for HIV patients. There is no price tag on the sense of purpose I feel. I try to inform college students and nursing students that this area of medicine still has high demand. My field has potential for qualified, compassionate people willing to work” says Staci. “In their absence, a lot of inner city areas, outposts and high risk areas suffer. I’m blessed to have found my ideal fit.”
Vernon R. Heard