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Helping others look and feel their best: Career change leads woman from the salon to the hospital.

Leighann McFadden

Graduate resident nurse Leighann McFadden, R.N., already knew a few of her patients when she started nursing at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville on July 8.

She’d been styling their hair for years.

McFadden was a cosmetologist in Stephenville for 27 years. Shifting to nursing sounds like a big change, but she has a quality that’s important in both fields — McFadden loves people. She enjoyed making them look good and now she has the opportunity to make them feel better.

“It just came naturally for me to help people look their best, get them all groomed up and see the look of confidence on their faces as they walked out the door,” McFadden said. “That gave me great pleasure, to make a difference in their lives that way.”

McFadden’s preceptor, Regina Wellborn, B.S.N., R.N., said, “It’s evident that she was led to this to do as a profession. She fits in really well, is very personable and very compassionate. She’s very caring and very safety-oriented.”

Read a little more about McFadden’s career change:

What did you want to be as a kid, and how did you ultimately choose your career?

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a hairstylist to the movie stars or a nurse in a crisp, white uniform. I wasn’t a good high school student, so I assumed nursing school was out of the question. That left beauty college, and I was very good at that.

Although I never made it to Hollywood, I had a very successful career in cosmetology and loved it. But over the years, I was getting stagnant, and it became a job, not a pleasure anymore. In February 2018, I developed blood clots in my left leg and as I lay in the emergency room, I felt an overwhelming fear that I could die at any moment and I had not lived out my life the way I intended.

I had wanted to have a college education. I had wanted to change my life. I had wanted to have the letters R.N. behind my name.

Six months later, I enrolled at Ranger College as a scared 46-year-old freshman and began the path to nursing school. I wasn’t sure if I would even make it through one semester, but I made it all the way to graduating as an R.N. And now I’m a graduate nurse resident at Texas Health Stephenville.

What is your favorite part of your job and your greatest challenge?

My favorite part of working on the medical-surgical unit is building relationships with my patients. I enjoy talking with them, learning their personalities and really listening to them.

I feel this gives my patients more confidence in the care I am providing, as they feel heard and like their concerns are validated. This is also my biggest challenge. I have to balance the amount of time I spend in patients’ rooms and stay on schedule throughout the day.


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