How many times have you been asked: What do you want to be when you grow up? Many people who go into the nursing profession know at an early age that is what they want to do as a career. However, some people don’t realize that is their passion until later in life. That is what happened to Ionela Morosanu, B.S.N. ’12, who was pursuing a career in accounting before she realized that nursing was her passion after talking with friends.

Morosanu was born and raised in Romania. In high school, she enjoyed accounting, and thought that would be her career path. “I represented my high school in several local and regional competitions called Olympics in accounting and marketing,” said Morosanu. “I was also tutoring my classmates that were struggling with accounting, and I fell in love with helping my classmates.” Morosanu credits her parents for encouraging and motivating her and her siblings with their education. Her parents did not graduate from high school due to family obligations, but they wanted their children to receive the education that they were not able to have for themselves.

Morosanu continued studying accounting in college, and was only two semesters away from graduating. However, an opportunity for a student exchange program became available. Just shy of her 21st birthday, she moved to the United States. “Once I arrived in the U.S., I worked in an office with an accountant, and I quickly learned that I was not satisfied with my career choice. One of my friends said she pictured me as a nurse, and it became clear to me that I wanted to be in a field where I can work with people.”

She talked with her friends about going to nursing school, and they spoke highly of the program at Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN). Morosanu applied to the traditional B.S.N. program at MCN, which was the only school where she submitted her application. She was accepted into the program and graduated in 2012.

After graduation, Morosanu accepted a position at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. “I decided to serve the community where I received my education,” she said. She started in the float pool, where she worked in the General Medical unit, the Ortho-Nero unit, the Transitional Care Unit, and the Post-ICU unit. “I absolutely loved working in the float pool, as I got to work with such a great variety of patients, and I also got to meet a vast number of healthcare workers.”

While working in the post-ICU as a float, she was able to observe the ICU a little closer and fell in love with the nursing provided in intensive care. So when the opportunity to work in the ICU came up she was eager to accept the challenges that came.

“I enjoyed the ICU because of the trust that both patients and their families had put in my abilities. Each day I was made aware of the responsibility I was given, and I felt privileged to have such a role. It was fulfilling to witness the progress some patients make in a short period of time. It was also fulfilling to hold and genuinely cry with a family member that just lost a loved one. It is an honor to be a part of their life journey, and to comfort the patients and families in their most vulnerable times. It was the most rewarding and humbling job I have ever experienced.”

After practicing in the ICU, Morosanu decided to further her education in anesthesia. “From my first exposure to the OR, I was drawn towards the anesthesia field. As a nursing student, during the Adult 1 clinical rotation, I was fortunate to observe a knee replacement surgery at Gibson City Area Hospital. The certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) on the case took me under his wing and walked me through the surgery process as well as he explained his role on the case. And while the surgery was most definitely interesting, I was finding myself fascinated by his role in the case.”

She applied to the CRNA program at Georgetown University and was accepted into the 27-month program, which she began this fall and expects to complete in December 2017. The program requires on average at least 60 hours of work per week, and goes through the summer. “So far the training has been challenging and very rigorous, and lately my hours range from 74-80 hours per week. But knowing this will be my profession makes the exhaustion I feel now worthwhile.”

The requirements for the CRNA program at Georgetown University include holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program, a minimum of one or two years of ICU experience, strong science background and a strong GPA in undergraduate school. Most schools also require CCRN–certification for critical care nurses.

“I had to prepare for an interview with the administrator at Georgetown, which included some clinical questions and a written chemistry and physics test, in addition to the “personal” interview.”

Assistant Dean for the Undergraduate Program Dianne Clemens helped Morosanu prepare for her interview. “We did a mock interview, and she put me in contacted with fellow MCN alumni who were practicing CRNA’s,” said Morosanu. “I received most valuable advice regarding the profession from Dianne, and it was a great support while going through the admission process.”

The rigor of the MCN nursing program was justified once she started practicing nursing. And, it is once again validated, as she is emerging herself in another rigorous program at Georgetown. “I feel very fortunate to be able to say my undergraduate education was provided by competent, dedicated, passionate professors for whom I have high respect and admiration. MCN had a tremendous impact on me professionally and also personally. I hope one day to give back so other generations can experience the same.”

One of Morosanu’s life long dreams is to be an educator. “I know that I will eventually teach nursing and when the time is right, I will find my place in academia.”

Looking back on her life, Morosanu says for every big turn that she took she has had someone to be grateful for – her parents for their encouragement and motivation with her education, her friends for helping her see her true passion, and to all of her nursing instructors. “All of their support helped me build this wonderful life.”