I was born and raised in Rapid City and have lived here my whole life. I married my high school sweetheart, Alex; we’ll have been together 17 years in October. We have two girls—Ainsley is 8 and Kinsley is 4. We enjoy camping and hiking and are active in church.
Why did you choose a career in nursing?
When I was 4 my brother was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. We went to the Mayo Clinic for eight weeks and the nurses made a huge impact on my life at such a young age. It was simple things, like giving me cups of vanilla ice cream with wooden spoons. Ever since, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and make an impact on people’s lives like that. We don’t have wooden spoons anymore, but I do pass out ice cream.
How long have you been a nurse?
I’ve been a nurse for 11 years. I’ve worked in the same facility and with the same float pool team my whole career.
What is most rewarding about your job?
As a nurse, you get to directly impact patients and their outcomes. You get to be with them during the best times of their lives, when they’re giving birth, and during the worst times in their lives. That’s an incredible blessing and responsibility. As a nurse manager, I love that I get to take care of my team. I feel if I take really good care of my team, they will take good care of their patients. I love encouraging my team, removing barriers, and supporting them in any way that they need.
What do you find most challenging?
Every job has its challenges. I get a reminder every day that my job isn’t really that bad; when I’m having a hard day and feel like I’m overwhelmed with tasks or have a lot of burdens, I just go and check on a patient and have a little humble pie. It’s a reminder that things aren’t so bad; I have a job and I’m healthy. The challenges are easy to put aside.
What skills make a nurse exceptional?
An exceptional nurse is compassionate and really focuses on people, because that’s what this job is all about. They’re able to flip things to the positive; other than labor/delivery, no patient wants to be here so you have to be an encourager. People that are innovative, aren’t afraid to take on challenges, and are able to overcome barriers and solve problems make great nurses.
What advice would you give others thinking about becoming a nurse?
Shadow-shift so you can get in and see what it’s like. Get a job as a CNA, PCC, phlebotomist, or some other position in the healthcare field so you can start feeling it out. One thing I love about nursing is the variety of people I care for, everywhere from neonatal to ICU, hospice house, emergency care, and everything in between. You truly can do anything: direct patient care in an ICU, medical/surgical or skilled nursing setting, you can work in a clinic, urgent care, research facility, or pharmaceutical company. There are so many avenues you can take up with nursing, you’ll never feel like you’re stuck.
If you hadn’t gone into nursing, what do you think you’d be doing?
The only other career path I thought about for a brief moment was marine biology. If any of my friends heard that they would laugh, because I truly cannot keep a goldfish alive and I know nothing about animals!