If you think your career is busy, then you obviously have never walked a mile in Nurse Alice Benjamin‘s nursing clogs. She’s one heck of a busy woman. But, hey—they don’t call her America’s Favorite Nurse for nothing! In addition to working full-time as a nationally board certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, Alice has a wide array of other talents to add to her resume.
Let me introduce you to Alice Benjamin. When she’s not hard at work helping patients in the Los Angeles area, she has found success in everything from writing, to making appearances on television and radio as a health expert, to working as spokesperson and vice chair for the American Heart/Stroke association, to mentoring, and more. As a strong African American female, Benjamin has paved the way for generations to follow in her inspirational footsteps. She even was the first ever African American nurse to be elected into the American Nurse Association’s California Board of Directors. And, on top of everything, she has four sons.
Travel Nurse Source was lucky enough to speak with Alice last week about her life and career. “As a nurse, I do what I do because I care. In fact, it doesn’t even seem like work. It’s not until someone says I do ‘xyz’ that I know I was working,”she told us.
Alice feels fortunate to work in something that she feels passionately about. And, she feels that many of her endeavors blend together nicely. It doesn’t matter whether she’s doing a health fair, working with a patient, appearing on television or just parenting her boys; it all feels similar to patient teaching for her. “[Patient teaching] makes work fun. It feels like I’m giving back. And if I’m helping just one person it feels good.”
Unbelievably, Alice wasn’t always destined for healthcare. In fact, in high school she originally wanted to be an accountant. However, as the eldest child, she found herself taking on the role of caregiver to her father as he struggled with his health. She enjoyed helping him with medications and other tasks. Her father served as a great source of inspiration. Finally, she realized that helping others was truly her calling. And now, “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says.
Alice was also inspired to pursue a caregiver role from a nurse she had as a teenager. Alice Benjamin had an extended hospital stay at age 16. While other girls her age were out playing and learning how to drive, Alice had to stay in the hospital with no kids her age. However, one nurse in particular was so inspiring, served as a cheerleader, and connected on her level like no one else. The care that nurse was able to give to a young Alice Benjamin forever impacted her. It may even be a large reason why she started out as a certified nurse before stairstepping up in the profession to where she is today.
A constantly-curious person, Alice became interested in the Affordable Care Act and was able to serve as an ObamaCare health expert and panelist for congresswomen Karen Bas, Janice Hahn, Linda Sanchez and Maxine Waters. “Nurses can have more impact on the government realm than just bedside,” she says.
Alice has appeared on Dr. Drew On Call, HLN News, Fox News, TruTV In Session, and more. However, she admits that she still feels nervous before going on. Alice hopes that by being a nurse on television, she can inspire others. As someone who understands what it’s like to be a patient, a daughter of a patient and a healthcare worker, Alice can relate to patients and her audiences perspectives on all levels.
Alice lends some simple advice to other nurses out there. She says, “Always think outside of the box. Sometimes in life we’re met with roadblocks. But, just be creative and do your best.”