CNA Instructor, Health Occupation Teacher
West Central High School
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
My mom was an ER nurse when I was young, so I grew up being familiar with that atmosphere. Some of my earliest memories are joining my brothers and visiting mom at work. Another influence was when I had given birth to our first son. The OB (Obstetrics) nurses who assisted me at that time were so helpful and kind and really made an impression on me. They were also very informative and gave me all kinds of great advice as I entered that brand new stage of my life. When I started my nursing education, my original interest had been OB-centered.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
By the time I considered becoming a nurse, I already had a family of my own. My first priority was still my husband and our son, so I needed a program that would be flexible and could accommodate my schedule. We had a few family friends who were familiar with St. Elizabeth’s nursing program and they were the ones who initially recommended it to me. Honestly though, one of the major reasons I ended up choosing St. Elizabeth was thanks to Anita Reed. When I first arrived and expressed an interest in attending, Anita helped me see how my schedule could fit alongside the school’s program and all the resources that would be available to me. She gave me the confidence to pursue my goals.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM NURSING SCHOOL?
I used to commute to campus every day with a group of friends who were also in the same program. Most of us were in similar situations with families of our own. In addition to commuting together, we also formed a study group and became pretty close. One day, there was an intense thunderstorm and we ended up spending the night on campus and studying together for an upcoming exam. I still keep in touch with a few of my friends from that group and we’ll reminisce over that night.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW NURSES?
Go in with an open mind. You won’t know everything, so always count on your teammates. The field is always changing, so you can’t afford to settle with what you already know – you have to be flexible.
HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
Studying in clinical environments was definitely a huge help. That kind of approach made me feel very well-rounded and confident to handle all sorts of situations. Numerous hospitals allowed us to practice and gain hands-on experience. It was during my time in clinicals that I realized my passion for ER work and I switched from my OB focus.
IF YOU WEREN'T A NUSRE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I already teach high school students in health, science, and CNA (Certified Nursing Associate) courses. I really enjoy working with them, and I am planning on giving them a tour of St. Elizabeth’s new facility so they can see what kind of resources they can expect at a collegiate level. So, if I had to choose something exclusively besides nursing, I’d want to be a teacher.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE FIELD AFTER YOU COMPLETED YOUR DEGREE?
I worked in Jasper County Hospital for several months. During that time I also became qualified to work as a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurse which I continued to do for about 12 years.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
I still work as an ER nurse, but the majority of my schedule is devoted to teaching health, science, and CNA classes at West Central High School in Franksville.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?
Interacting with patients and caring for them. My OB nurses did more than just provide medication and help my physical needs, they educated me and gave me advice. That is what I enjoy giving now.
WHAT PATIENT POPULATION DO YOU SERVE?
Because I work in an ER setting, it’s rare that you can see a pattern in patient populations. People from every age group and background pass through there.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART OF BEING A NUSE?
Sometimes I wish there were 2 or 3 of me. ER environments can be hectic by default, so I can’t always spend as much time with individuals as I would like. I had to learn early on how to prioritize and work efficiently.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND YOUR NURSING PRACTICE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE SCHOOL'S MISSION OF PREPARING NURSES TO CONTINUE CHRIST'S HEALING MINISTRY?
Compassion is essential, but beyond that is caring for patients when they go on and leave our care. Educating patients while they’re within our care can oftentimes help prevent further damage down the road.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT WORK?
I love spending time with my husband and our two boys. Whatever I’m doing, as long as it’s with them, I am happy.