A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
My dad always told me to choose a career I’d love. He’s a paramedic and my mom and stepmom are both registered nurses (RNs). When they came home from work, I would listen to their stories about the patients they helped during the day. I guess you could say being in health care is in my blood.
First, I became certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and immediately obtained a job working in a hospital emergency room. I performed CPR, dressed wounds and put casts on patients. I also used an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine to monitor patients’ heart rates for irregularities or even heart attacks.
What did you do next after becoming an EMT?
I wanted to take my career — and the care I provided — to the next level, so I signed up for a registered nursing program. The program itself took two years and I had to take a couple years of prerequisites first, but it was totally worth it.
What’s your current job and what does it require?
Now I’m an RN, which means I have more responsibilities in the emergency room. I’m responsible for the treatment, safety and recovery of patients who are injured or seriously ill — even during life-threatening emergencies.
The first thing I do when I get to work every day is get a head count of the patients, make sure we have all the emergency supplies in our “crash carts” (it’s like an emergency medical station on wheels) and get updates on everyone’s condition. That way, I know what’s going on in the department and I have my supplies ready in case of an emergency.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Emergency situations can be challenging and emotionally difficult. But the training I received as an EMT and in nursing school goes a long way and helps me feel more prepared. What also helps is to think of my patients as my family. I ask myself, what kind of care would I want my parents to have?
I can’t imagine doing anything else as a career, and being an RN is rewarding in more ways than one. Not many people can start making $30 an hour immediately after graduating. I was able to buy a house within two years after graduation.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering becoming a nurse?
If you’re interested in nursing, I suggest becoming an EMT first. The program is short, and you’ll get a sense of what nurses do by working closely with them.
My most important piece of advice is to do exactly what my dad told me: choose a career you love.