Leah Gorham has spent most of her adult life caring for patients in operating rooms at a Canadian hospital. But now, she’s spending her time behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, David Williams reported for CNN.
The 42-year-old told reporters that she used to love being a nurse, but staff shortages and a lack of advancement opportunities pushed her to look for something else. Her boyfriend, a CDL-A owner-operator, encouraged her to look into truck driving.
“I was just going to regret my career being where it was and not being able to advance was really maddening to me,” Gorham told CNN. “So I just needed to do something else.”
Gorham enrolled in a 12-week program to get her CDL. She and her boyfriend drive together and are working toward becoming a professional truck driver team.
“Eventually, we’re going to be trading off like, I’m going to sleep when he’s driving, but right now, while I’m still training … it’s almost like we’re one independent super-driver,” she said.
Gorham had gotten as far as she could in her nursing career without upgrading her qualifications. And with the weight of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers adding extra pressure to already short-staffed hospitals, Gorham said “there was no end in sight.” But she kept her license on an inactive status, in case she wants to go back.
“I do have time to see [if] maybe I want to go back casually or something like that just to maintain my license, because I put my time in and I did really love it,” she told Williams.
For now, CNN reports, she’s happy behind the wheel.