Emergency Department Nurse, Maxim Healthcare Group Covid Antigen Site Supervisor at Purdue University
Franciscan Health Lafayette East
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
I studied general health science at Purdue University with the intent to become a physical therapist. After graduation, I worked as a nursing intern at St. Elizabeth East. Seeing the critical relationships between doctors, nurses, patients and their families made me fall in love with nursing. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
I researched local nursing programs and applied to several. The edge St. Elizabeth had over the others was word of mouth reputation and their hands-on, holistic approach to learning. The two-year nursing degree track was the perfect choice for me.
HOW HAS YOUR ROLE CHANGED SINCE THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK?
My role—my life—has changed dramatically since the outbreak. I earned my pediatric nurse practitioner’s license, gave birth to my third child and took on this new role with Maxim Healthcare Group testing Purdue athletes, visiting teams, coaches, students, staff and Olympic athletes. What began as a one-day-a-week position grew into becoming Antigen Site Director. There is no limit to what you can do and accomplish as a nurse. The opportunities abound.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU DURING THIS OUTBREAK?
I have formed wonderful relationships with the Purdue student athletes. They are some of the most dedicated, respectful and driven individuals I have ever met. When I have to tell one of them they’ve tested positive for coronavirus and cannot participate with their team, their devastation and disappointment is brutal for me. They have worked their entire lives to reach this pinnacle of athleticism. On the other side of that is the reality that without programs like ours continually COVID testing athletes, these dynamic individuals would not be able to have a Big Ten season. I’m thrilled to be a small part of helping make that happen for all of them.
HOW DO YOU THINK ST. ELIZABETH PREPARED YOU FOR CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE THIS?
The clinical program at St. Elizabeth is phenomenal. Pandemic or not, I can see how the school sets students up for success. When fellow new nurses shared their school experiences with me, many said their hands-on clinicals began well into their second year, unlike mine. I thought, whoa. You can’t just read about it on day one of becoming a nurse. You have to do it! That’s the St. Elizabeth difference.
HOW HAS THIS EXPERIENCE MADE YOU A BETTER NURSE?
I never lost my compassion and empathy as a nurse, yet I had somewhat disconnected to feeling it at a deeper level. Witnessing families say final goodbyes to loved ones over the phone, seeing the tears well in athletes’ eyes when I break the news that they cannot compete and must quarantine, the coming together of healthcare workers to be there for one another and their patients—that’s what’s made me a better nurse.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?
There is so much flavor and variety in my day. I think about the connections and people I have met because of my new position and am so grateful. I have a deep love for the Purdue community. I grew up watching games in Mackey Arena and–along with St. Elizabeth School of Nursing–it’s my hometown alma mater. This job allows me to give back to the town and institution I hold dear.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND YOUR NURSING PRACTICE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE SCHOOL'S MISSION OF PREPARING NURSES TO CONTINUE IN CHRIST'S HEALING MINISTRY?
For me, this ties back to being there for patients and families. Doctors and nurses can make or break the healthcare experience. Patients come to us because they’re sick. Sometimes they are scared and experiencing the most impactful trauma of their lives. As nurses, we have to shine on and shower those individuals with compassion, healing and love.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT AT WORK?
I love to get out and go for a run whenever I can. Pre-COVID, my husband and I traveled with our children to destinations where we could hike and be in the sunshine. That’s something we’re looking forward to enjoying together again one day.