Rachel Dinkledine is a registered nurse at a major hospital in Indianapolis, IN.
HSLDA: Rachel, what was your childhood homeschool experience like? What’s your best experience from it?
Rachel Dinkledine: My parents made learning fun as much as possible, leading me to beg my mom to teach me to read well before kindergarten. My parents tried to help my siblings and me learn in every situation, even having us write reports about our family vacations! As we grew older, my parents allowed us to give more input into what and how we learned. I really appreciated that.
HSLDA: Describe what you do in your job. How did homeschooling prepare you for what you’re doing now?
Rachel: I work as a bedside nurse caring for adult inpatients with a variety of conditions ranging from drug overdoses to chronic conditions that have spiraled out of control. In addition to assessing and treating my patients’ medical needs, I serve as an educator and advocate for my patients.
Nursing requires much autonomy. Homeschooling taught me to be self-driven and self-directed.
HSLDA: What inspired you to enter this field?
Rachel: As a child, I stated I would never become a nurse because that was “gross.” But while taking (and loving!) Jay Wile’s biology course as a freshman in high school, I started to wonder if I could do nursing. Since I enjoy science and love people, I wondered if God could give me the grace to overcome my fear of “gross.” He has given that grace, and I’m thrilled to be a nurse!
HSLDA: What is the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your job as a public servant?
Rachel: The most challenging part of my job is loving the unlovable. Since becoming a nurse, I have witnessed levels of physical, mental, relational, and spiritual brokenness beyond what I ever could have imagined. Sometimes it is hard to remember there is a soul behind the brokenness. There are many times I want to hole up and stop loving. Every day, I have to go back to Calvary and remember my own brokenness is worse than I realize and my Savior loves me more than I can imagine. Only then can I keep loving.
HSLDA: What is your best experience as a public servant?
Rachel: My favorite part of being a nurse is offering hope in the midst of suffering. As I nurse, I get to enter the inner sanctuary of people’s lives as they trust me with the most private and painful aspects of their existence. By entering into the world of their suffering, I can then offer hope.
My hospital allows me to offer to pray with my patients. I have never had a patient turn me down. On many occasions, as I raise my bowed head from praying, my patient will whisper between their tears, “Thanks—I needed that.”
HSLDA: What are one or two examples of how you’ve had a positive impact through your work?
Rachel: I have many examples of times I have cared for “problem patients” who were out of control. God has given me grace and wisdom to know what to say in the moment to calm them down. My supervisors often assign me difficult patients that will not calm down for anyone else. I think it is only God’s grace that allows me to impact people in this way.
HSLDA: Why is it important for homeschoolers to be involved in public service?
Rachel: Being involved in public service allows homeschooled students to cultivate interests and broaden their horizons.
Homeschoolers are often creative, independent thinkers. Working in public service as professionals allows creative thinkers the opportunity to help solve the many complex issues facing healthcare and other realms of public service.
HSLDA: How does your homeschool experience inform your work?
Rachel: As a homeschooled student, I grew up experiencing less peer pressure than I would have in traditional schools. I am very comfortable standing up for what I believe. This allows me to advocate for what is right for my patients even if I face resistance from other professionals.
HSLDA: How could homeschooling families improve their participation in public service?
Rachel: Homeschoolers should take advantage of opportunities to job shadow and volunteer as much as possible in high school. The flexibility of homeschooling provides great opportunities to discover what is out there before committing to a professional path.
Many thanks to Rachel for sharing her story! This interview is part of our Homeschool Helpers series, which highlights homeschool graduates and parents across the nation serving their communities as public servants. If you’d like to read more inspiring stories, click here.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by HSLDA; all other images courtesy of Rachel Dinkledine.
Interview Edited by Peter Forbes.