My Education: BS, Curry College
My Prior Experience: I accumulated a lot of experience as a nurse and medical assistant in doctors' offices before working for three years as a staff nurse in a long-term acute care facility. I have been at my current job for the past three years.
My Company: I work for an acute care community hospital in a rural area south of Boston.
Job/Career Overview: I am a staff nurse doing direct bedside patient care in an intensive care unit. I am responsible for performing physical assessments and administration of care and medication. While on my shift I monitor patients' vital signs and lab values in order to report them to nurse practitioners, physician assistants and doctors. It is my duty to understand signs and symptoms of changes in a patient's health status, including complaints the patient makes directly or vital sign changes such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, oxygen percentage and heart monitoring changes, the wave form that your heart makes on an EKG printout. Patient care can include bathing, position changes, wound care and inserting IV's and bladder catheters. I care for patients who have medical and surgical diagnoses. Some of the patients have a tube in their mouth that goes down to their lungs; others are on a ventilator or breathing machine. I always have to consider the patient and family's emotional needs too.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of my job is when a patient or his family says "thank you" or tells me how helpful I've been to them. Even when a person is dying, it's important to care for them and their family. The worst part of my job is when people misdirect their anger or grief toward me. It can make you feel awfully mean and like nothing you do or say is going to comfort them.
A nursing career is tough work. The education can be difficult. You are held to a high standard. It is so important to never break down and quit. Draw strength from the challenges. During clinical training, seek out the learning opportunities, get your hands-on experience. When it comes to taking the licensure exam, don't sweat it. By that time, you're a nurse. You just need a passing grade to prove it!!! Always remember your psychiatric education, regardless of what specialty of medicine you engage in. You will always meet a person with emotional needs who will challenge you.