Sandie Dial

It’s never too late to find your passion

It took more than ten years for Sandie to become a nurse, but every moment was worth it to be in a career in that she loves.

portrait of Sandie Dial, nurse at UC Davis Health


I knew I wanted to help people in some capacity when I was in high school. It was my senior year I took a peer support elective class and it was the first year that they had done it at my high school and I just absolutely fell in love with the support of my friends, supporting upcoming freshmen. It was then when I decided I was going to be a psychology major.

So I went into college and that was my major. And my mom, this is back in the late 80s, she said, "I can't believe you want to sit around and listen to people's problems all day long and prescribe medication. You really need to go into computer science." Because it was the late 80s and that's where the money was at. So I was a very impressionable child and I said, "Okay, let me, let me try some classes."

And I chose two classes and I took them and I said, "I don't ever want to be a computer science major. That's not where my heart is at." And I kind of went back to the psychology major, kind of hemmed and hawed for a little while and made a really big mistake and got married super early. And college kind of went to the back burner. It was then that I had my son, and I was really young, I was 22 years old. And with his health problems, he had some mild health problems in consideration of what we see here in the unit. And that was when I kind of realized, wow, maybe my passion for helping people is in nursing or in some kind of medical capacity. And it really kind of grew over time and I kind of realized after I had, I ended up divorcing, and realized this was going to take me a long time as a single mom to do what I wanted to do.

So I took a class, one class a semester, and went to night school and it took me 10 years to get my prerequisites done. I applied for the first time and got into nursing and it's just been smooth sailing ever since. It's just been really a great career choice for me. So I spent those 10 years in my prerequisites as an accountant. And so I said, "I sat behind a desk, counting beans, working in project management and construction accounting." It was not where my passion was, but it was how I paid the bills and how I supported my son and I and getting through 10 years of nursing prerequisites.

I knew I wanted to do pediatrics when I went into my rotation. It was immediate that pediatrics was where my heart was at because you also get to deal with the families. And the families were such an extension of their children it was like, I didn't have one patient, I had three patients that I could support. It was my ICU love in my fourth semester, I had gotten all my clinical prerequisites done really fast. And my instructor told me I could keep going into the ICU. So I did like six rotations in the ICU and I'm like, I love the ICU. And so it was two of those married together. I came in here as a new grad.