Shelbi Madison

Shelbi Madison

Shelbi Madison
Registered Nurse
Eskenazi Hospital
Indianapolis, IN

WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?

My junior year of high school, I started thinking about what I wanted to do after graduation. At the time, I hadn’t thought much about nursing. I decided to shadow a family friend who was a labor and delivery nurse and enjoyed it. During my senior year, both of my grandparents were diagnosed with cancer. That’s when nursing clicked as a career for me. I knew I wanted to become an RN and care for people.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING? 

I knew I would thrive learning in a hands-on, educational experience. That’s what I received on day one at St. Elizabeth, and it was the best career choice I could’ve ever made.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM NURSING SCHOOL?

I hold dear the friendships I made along with everything we went through together. There were ten people in my graduating class. We’re still close, talk as much as possible and are thankful we had each other to lean on through school. When I think about how caring my professors were—and all the inside jokes we had with them—that brings back unforgettable memories. 

HOW DID YOUR ROLE CHANGE WITH THE ONSET OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

When elective surgeries were canceled, my area of the hospital became eerily quiet. It felt like a ghost town. Because our surgical unit consists of three floors, and non-emergency surgeries were no longer on the books, one surgery recovery floor became a COVID unit. Senior surg-med nurses continued caring for surgery patients. Other nurses, like myself, became part of the coronavirus team. By late summer, the influx of COVID patients slowed, elective surgeries resumed and I returned to my original duties.  

HOW DO YOU THINK ST. ELIZABETH PREPARED YOU FOR CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE THIS?

St. Elizabeth prepared me to be the best nurse possible no matter what circumstances I face. I learned to get the job done thoroughly and safely while providing compassionate care to my patients—pandemic or not.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW NURSES?

As scary as it might feel as a new graduate, ask questions. I promise, you’ll figure it out!

HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?

If I had a dollar for every time I said, “Wow, thank you, St. Elizabeth!” I’d have a nice little side income. My first day on the job, I saw the difference between what I learned in nursing school and my workplace peers’ preparedness. Our professors guided us every step of the way. They built our confidence levels so we could problem-solve and succeed on our own. I graduated in 2019, and, already, student nurses are assigned to me for their clinicals. That’s the St. Elizabeth difference.

WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT BEING A NURSE?

When COVID first began, I found it difficult to leave job stressors and worry at work. The things nurses see take a considerable toll on them emotionally. This year, with visitor restrictions, patients were unable to see family and felt alone. That was difficult for me to deal with. I became a support system for strangers in their hardest moments. I wanted to sit with them and hold their hands, yet I had other patients who needed me too. I learned to take one moment at a time and spend extra minutes with patients whenever I could.

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?

I serve a very diverse population in Indianapolis. Ensuring that I follow in Christ’s footsteps by providing compassionate and empathetic care to everyone regardless of their race, religion or economic status means everything to me as a human being and nurse.