February 15th, 2011
Nursing isn’t a logical first step towards a career in music, TV or or politics, but it’s helped these famous faces achieve great success. And why shouldn’t it? Having a background in caregiving, research, advocacy and medicine broadens your understanding of how other people live and what they need. Here are 10 celebrities who who once worked as or studied to become nurses.
- Naomi Judd: Celebrated country star and the mother of Wynona and Ashley, Naomi Judd started her career as a registered nurse. As a single mother, Naomi went to nursing school and then worked as an RN, but contracted hepatitis C from a needle stick. She had to retire from music in 1991 but is now a health advocate for the disease.
- Robin Quivers: Howard Stern sidekick now has her own show, but before she got into entertainment, Quivers was a U.S. Air Force nurse serving in Korea. She received an honorable discharge and began experimenting with radio jobs.
- Kate Gosselin: Former reality TV sensation and controversial mother figure Kate Gosselin had a real job before she made big bucks showing off her family on television. She worked as a labor and delivery room nurse in Pennsylvania, and in 2009, renewed her nursing license with the promised intent to complete 30 hours of continuing education requirements.
- Bonnie Hunt: Actress and comedienne Bonnie Hunt might be the funniest thing to come out of Middle America, next to David Letterman. The perky blonde studied nursing in Chicago, and even told NurseZone.com that she “was a nurse in my heart from the time I was a little girl.” She worked in emergency medicine and oncology at Northwestern University Hospital and did improv comedy at night until she got her break.
- Darva Conger: While she’s not as big of a celebrity as some of the other names on this list, Darva Conger did get her 15 minutes of fame. The former Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire contestant — and ultimate winner — worked as an ER nurse before flirting with a silhouetted millionaire on national TV.
- Julie Walters: Lovable and upbeat actress Julie Walters has been in everything from Mama Mia! to the Harry Potter movies in recent years to a slew of TV movies and series in the 70s, 80s and 90s. She first worked as a nurse for 18 months in England as a very young woman but always had a desire to act. She followed her boyfriend to Manchester and started working in theatre by the 1970s.
- Congresswoman Lois Capps: California Congresswoman Lois Capps succeeded her late husband in political office, but worked for 20 years as a nurse for the Santa Barbara School District. She at one point served as director of Santa Barbara County’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project and the Parent and Child Enrichment Center is currently serves as co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, as well as supporting many other health advocacy groups.
- Kathryn Joosten: Memorable actress Kathryn Joosten has starred on some of the most popular TV shows in American entertainment history, ranging from The West Wing to Desperate Housewives to Ally McBeal, and many, many others. She entered the workforce, however, as a psychiatric nurse at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital. She married, had children, and then divorced, and turned to acting to support her two sons.
- Paul Brandt: Canadian country singer and songwriter Paul Brandt worked as a pediatric nurse at the Alberta Children;s Hospital before leaving to pursue his developing music career. In addition to his nursing degree, Brandt now has an honorary doctorate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge.
- Derek Longmuir: Derek Longmuir actually turned to nursing after a successful tenure in the music business, with the Bay City Rollers. But then, trouble struck. Longmuir was found to possess child pornography and was fired from his job at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, although his foster son believes he was framed by a crazed fan.
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