Empathy inspires nurse to give hope to people in crisis

Larkin_250[I] am not entirely certain how I chose my major; maybe it chose me. Some have said nursing is a calling. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say I was called. I do feel an affinity for connecting with people in crisis, and all hospitalized patients and their families are in crisis. Since 1983, I have worked as an LVN, primarily in behavioral health and long-term care.

There have been obstacles in my path. Three obstacles I love very much are adults now. My children, of course, always came first when they were young. I took the bulk of pre-nursing requirements when I could, literally here and there. I also continued to work and juggle the demands of being a wife, mother, daughter-in-law, vet, baker, and chauffeur with those of being a student. Finally in 2010, after twenty-plus years and ever changing requirements, I was ready to apply to nursing school in earnest. My two oldest children were launched, and my youngest was in high school. Four years on the waiting list, and I was in, accepted at Monterey Peninsula College Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing!

On the Monday after Thanksgiving 2013, my husband turned to me and said he was leaving. He removed his grandmother’s photograph from the wall and left. A few hours later a process server was knocking at my door. That was the end of my marriage. The biggest obstacle this created was that of pain.

I have to say I am still in a great deal of pain. I did not fully realize how painful a divorce could be. I had been divorced before, but there were no children involved, and no house to sell quickly at a loss. I think that leaving my home of 14 years was the biggest challenge because of the landscaping I had nurtured and the neighbors I now miss. I haven’t entirely processed this loss yet; I’m still working on the death of my parents, who died within seven months of each other (in Aug 2012 and Mar 2013).

How do I move forward now? I’m not young, and I haven’t thought of myself as flexible or nomadic in a good while. I have had to become both. I must. It’s that simple. I will prepare for the worst and hope for the best, out of necessity rather than choice. I look around and see other people with problems more profound than mine. As a nurse, I can do something about that. I can give people hope. I will give people hope. I may pursue a career in behavioral health, or simply just work on a medical-surgical floor as an RN, where the need is great. After all, I am now flexible, dedicated, and familiar with personal crises in a way I was not before my divorce. So at sixty years of age, I will begin a new career. I hope to do well.

We are proud to announce Tara Larkin is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.



  • This lady is deserving, and any assistance she receives will have manifold return in the good she does and will do. I have known Tara since high school and she will make the most of any support you can give.

  • I’ve known Tara for over 20 years. She is quite simply; brilliant and fearless. Given a chance to prove her mettle in this new endeavor will result in guaranteed success.

  • Tara

    has always amazed those of us lucky enough to be her friend. She is an amazing, loving person and has done
    so much for the people she has helped in her nursing career. She is SO deserving of this scholarship.

  • Tara your love and unconditional support to others and your great service to our community for so many years makes you a special person. I am very happy to know you.

  • I have known Tara since I was about 8 yrs old. Almost 48 years. Tara has always been a mover and a shaker. Not going to stop me kind of person. Tara has had some very rough times throughout her life. What did she do? She worked though them by helping others. She has been working in the medical field since she was in her 20s, only taking breaks in her work and education to raise her children. Love her priorities! That she is on the move still/again to achieve her lifetime goal is all telling. Tara absolutely deserves all the help and support she can get. She has more than earned it. Tara will be as an amazing nurse as she is a friend and humanitarian.

  • I want to voice my support for Tara Larkin. I feel that her trials have only served to make her a better nurse. As nurses, we bring our experiences with us to the bedside. The adversity she has faced will bring a new level of empathy and understanding for the suffering of others. She will make a wonderful nurse and I’m proud to call her my classmate.

  • Having a background in both medical and behavioral health nursing myself, I can image the magnitude of the word, “crisis,” you see daily. Bravo for putting your best foot forward for your family and patients despite going through such chaotic turbulence around you. You are well deserving of receiving some of the goodness you put out there.

    Keep striving and it is sure to come back full circle.

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