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Petrina Dennis
Petrina Dennis
Occupation: Nurse practitioner
Hometown: Sterling, Va.
"Recently, I heard a physician say to a young friend of mine, `If you plan to go to medical school today, you better do it because you are passionate about the field. You can't go into it for the money anymore.' I don't think that you would ever hear a comment like that made to someone who planned to be a nurse practitioner."

"The qualities and characteristics which drive our profession are passion, commitment to caring for others. Victimization of patients and reliance on an already overburdened system should not be the goal. I didn't even know how much nurse practitioners made when I started on this quest back in 1972. I always knew that I would be able to support myself and my children. It didn't matter that I was never going to be able to afford a Mercedes."

"There was a period for ten years that I received no salary increase at all because the doctor/owners had to 'cut costs.' This was during the advent of managed care. Yet, they lived in 10,000 square foot houses, took vacations to exotic places and drove top-of-the-line cars. Am I disparaging doctors? Hardly. They deserve to reap the fruits of their labor. But the situation has empowered me even further in the pursuit and fulfillment of this passion to provide the highest quality of services to my patients."

NEXT: Norman Salas

Last updated August 03 2009: 9:29 AM ET
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