A Gift to Heal

Ruth Muchimba

One moment in time can influence your life – just ask Reading Area Community College graduate Ruth Muchimba. A graduate of RACC's Associate Degree Nursing Program in 2008, she is now entering her sixth year with Reading Health System and works in the emergency room.

Ruth said it was a moment years ago growing up in Zambia, Africa that set her on the nursing path. "I wanted to be a nurse since I was ten years old," said Ruth. "My grandmother broke her leg around that time, and even though I don't remember this, she said I took great care of her and she said I would make a great nurse one day. So it kind of stuck with me."

A few years later, family intervention again played a significant role in determining Ruth's future. She had extended family living in Berks County and was given the opportunity to move here to finish high school. She attended Holy Name High School, now named Berks Catholic, for her final three years. She said the transition and culture shock was a drastic change, but she is now adjusted and enjoys going back to visit her country. When it came time for college, Ruth talked with her high school guidance counselor.

"She had a lot of nice things to say about RACC in general, and that the nursing program was excellent," Ruth said. "I trusted her, so I enrolled at RACC right out of high school. I thank her to this day for steering me in the right direction."

The nursing program at RACC left Ruth feeling very well prepared, and she said she was confident starting her first day of work at the hospital. After a year at work, Ruth enrolled at Alvernia University to pursue a bachelor's degree, which she earned in 2010. "I knew I always wanted to further my education and that it was just a matter of time," she said.

For Ruth, the greatest rewards of a nursing career are helping people and seeing the healing process first-hand. "Seeing hope in the eyes of a hopeless family member and knowing that hope came from my contribution to making their mother, father, brother, sister or child better makes everything worth it," Ruth said.

A wife and mother, Ruth said nursing also allows a flexible schedule to balance family and work. In the future, she also hopes to return to school and earn a Master's degree. Ruth offers advice to students who are considering a career in nursing: "Make sure you really love the career and that it is something that you truly want to do," she said. "If you are in it for the wrong reasons, you will definitely find it hard to stay in the field. If it truly is your calling, you will always strive to see the bright side in everything."