May 9, 2013

5 Celebrities Who Studied Nursing

Tina Turner

Nurses are often the heroes behind the scenes in hospitals and other health care facilities. Physicians get the lion's share of the credit for making patients healthy again while nurses do the lion's share of the work!

A surprising number of nurses, however, have made the move to show business professions where they can command a greater share of attention. Here are five celebrities who were once nurses or at least attended nursing school before they became famous doing something else.

Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd's resolve to enter the healing professions was made when her brother Brian died of Hodgkin's Disease at age 17. Brian's death sent the Judd family reeling and eventually tore it apart. Naomi married at age 17, but divorced shortly thereafter. Nursing, she decided, would supply an ideal means of supporting herself and her two young daughters until she was able to break into show business.

Naomi graduated from the College of Marin's nursing program in 1977, and worked both as a midwife and as an Intensive Care Unit nurse before launching a musical career with songstress daughter Winona as part of the highly successful singing duo the Judds.

Tina Turner

At sixteen, Tina Turner was working as a nursing assistant in the maternity ward of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital when she met Ike Turner in a St. Louis nightclub one night. Anna Mae Bullock, as Tina was known then, had every intention of pursuing a career in nursing. Ike saw her potential and stage presence and convinced her to give professional singing a shot instead.

Jenny McCarthy

Sex symbol Jenny McCarthy was enrolled as a nursing student at Carbondale's Southern Illinois University in 1993 when she was approached by a photographer to pose for Playboy Magazine. Her initial photo shoot was so successful that a year later the magazine chose her to become Playmate of the Year.

Although McCarthy did not pursue a career in the healing professions, she remains active in health campaigns, particularly those dealing with biomedical treatments for autism.

Kate Gosselin

Reality TV star Kate Gosselin graduated from a nursing diploma program affiliated with Pennsylvania's Reading Hospital and Medical Center. She continued working at Reading Hospital until 2004.

Ironically enough, Kate worked in the labor and delivery unit. In 2004, she gave birth to sextuplets, born at 30 weeks gestation. The following year, Kate, husband Jon and their brood, which also included a pair of twin girls born in 2000, were featured in a Discover Channel special entitled " Surviving Sextuplets and Twins." Two years later, the family became the stars of their own reality TV series, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which ran until 2009.

After the show was dropped by TLC, there was some speculation that Kate would return to her former nursing career. This failed to materialize, however.

LuAnn de Lesseps

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is best known as a personality on Bravo's reality TV series "The Real Housewives of New York." Growing up as a mere commoner in a small Connecticut town, however, the practical-minded LuAnn thought that nursing would be her ticket out.

LuAnn worked as a licensed practical nurse before her rangy good looks won her a spot with the Wilhelmina modeling agency. She continued working part time as a nurse until she was well established in her modeling career. Her particular specialty was geriatric nursing.

The countess credits the people skills she learned as a nurse with making her a better entertainer. She kept her license current longer than most other celebrities who were time nurses once upon a time. LuAnn de Lesseps' nursing license expired in April 2009.

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Dana Harding is a trauma nurse who enjoys sharing information about accelerated nursing scholarships with prospective nursing students.

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