Job search engine recently posted 109 new openings for nurses in the Sacramento area, at clinics, care facilities and private and public hospitals. Reports from the Employment Development Department indicate that educational and health services in Sacramento gained an additional 4,400 jobs between December 2013 and December 2014.

(Photo Courtesy of Dian Baker)

(Photo Courtesy of Dian Baker)

Dian Baker, Associate Professor with Sacramento State’s School of Nursing, and coordinator of the School Nurse Program, is a role model for nurses pursuing advanced degrees to gain both career success and personal satisfaction. “It all starts with education, that is the key, ” Baker says.

Baker got her bachelor’s degree in Nursing, then a Master of Arts in Childhood Development. Her thirst for knowledge continued, and she ultimately earned both an M.S. and Ph.D. in nursing. The Sacramento native loves to travel, and says she just returned from a 3-week teaching trip to Japan.

Did you have a mentor?

“During my early schooling, I struggled with certain basic tasks like giving injections. The frustration was getting to me until I was approached by a professor. Mrs. Millard said she saw something in me, and that she would make sure I made it through this program.”

Do you have any advice for current and potential nursing students?

“All of the hard work you put into learning the basics, will help you save lives for your whole career. Focus seriously on science, math and other STEM classes. 80 percent of my research is grounded in STEM education, a significant fact given the recent participation in a groundbreaking study on how nurses can directly help limit incidents of hospital-acquired pneumonia.”

Have you ever felt you were in a rut, career-wise?

“I’ve had 15 different jobs as a nurse, and I’ve loved them all. Nursing is a great career, with literally hundreds of ways to learn, grow and succeed.”

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at

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