2021 Alumni Q&A's Part III
Graduated: Spring 2020
Employer: St. Francis Medical Center (level 2 trauma center) ICU
Q: What was the most memorable part of nursing school?
A: I entered as a transfer student and so the most memorable and heartfelt part was being given the opportunity to transfer in and not have to start the entire program from the beginning. SAC’s retired SON director Becky Miller is an ANGEL! She has the kindest heart. She understood my situation and gave me the opportunity to continue my journey to becoming a nurse... I will forever be indebted to her! The other memorable part of nursing school was having such a strong support system from the faculty, as well as, my peers.
Q: What was your favorite part of nursing school?
A:The anxiety and lack of sleep part... just kidding! The ICU and NICU rotation was my favorite... and even though I didn’t get to experience the entire ICU rotation, I’m grateful that in the short period of time I was there, I had the opportunity to assist with intubations, learn about sedatives and paralytics, and have such a great ICU nurse to shadow!
Q: If you could go back to nursing school, what would you have done differently?
A: I probably would have worked on time management (in the clinical setting) a lot more... I feel that it is one of the more crucial aspects of nursing that is greatly overlooked in nursing schools.
Q: During nursing school, what is one thing you wish you would have experienced?
A: I wish I would had a lengthier ICU rotation. COVID-19 began in spring 2020, therefore my class was forced to participate in online clinicals, simulation, etc. in order to satisfy the graduation requirements. I feel that if I would have had my clinical ICU training I would have become a more proficient ICU nurse much sooner. My ICU residency program turned out to be the clinical that I had never experienced during nursing school.
Q: How long did you study for, before taking the NCLEX?
A:I studied for 3 months... I used Kaplan, Mark K.‘s audio and study guide, and a study guide created by nursing educator Barbara O.
Q: How long after passing the NCLEX, did it take to find a job?
A: I already had a job lined up immediately after passing the NCLEX and started the following week. I worked at an outpatient surgical facility as a pre-op, intra-op (circulating), and post-op (PACU) nurse. I loved PACU the most. I left because I wanted hospital experience and also wanted to work in the ICU. It was a struggle finding a residency program that met my specific needs (days, specialty unit, trauma hospital). Most hospitals were not hiring new grad nurses into the ICU, I kept searching and searching with no luck, until finally a friend of mine saw a post on my social media and wrote me that St. Francis was hiring... I was interviewed and accepted shortly thereafter!
Q: What type of nursing job are you currently in?
A: I’m an ICU nurse at a level 2 trauma center... I love our trauma nurses and the wealth of knowledge they possess! For example, I had an MVA patient who was post-op that exhibited all the signs of sepsis, so naturally, I began the sepsis 1 hour bundle protocol along with cooling measures and antipyretics. He had ABX already on prior to and during surgery but his lactate level was a 6.2 and he was febrile with a temperature of 102.6F (39.2C). At the end of shift, the trauma nurse comes by and educates me a bit on what was happening. Turns out it wasn’t sepsis but a condition called DAMP (damage associated molecular patterns) that mimics the signs and symptoms of Sepsis! DAMP causes a cytokines storm and in turn acts as a noninfectious inflammatory response to the trauma that the patient has endured! Future trauma ICU nurses reading this do yourself a favor and research DAMP vs PAMP... you’re welcome!
Q: If you are not working in the type of nursing job you want, what is your ideal nursing post?
A: I am exactly where I want to be and grateful everyday to G-D for blessing me with such amazing opportunities!
Q: Have you pursued higher a degree? BSN? MSN? FNP? DNP? CRNA?
A: Yes my BSN and eventually CRNA school! I am currently studying for my CCRN and TCRN and plan on taking grad school prerequisites and the GRE sometime next year! If CRNA school doesn’t work out, my backup is ACNP.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to a current or future nursing student?
A: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE... I NEVER did this because of my anxiety! I find that getting studying and homework done ahead of time helps alleviate some of the anxiety and stress. Some non-pharmacological tools that helped me were sound healing, aromatherapy, meditation, massages (my favorites are hot stone and reflexology), etc.