Nurse of Excellence: Theresa Lewis

Theresa Lewis
LPN, Rapid City Medical Center The Skin Institute

Tell me about yourself.

I have three kids: Brayden is a junior in high school, Ella just started middle school, and Logan is in third grade. We enjoy lots of camping and hiking and movie nights with popcorn. In the past few years I’ve taken up trail running.  

Why did you choose a career in nursing?

I always knew that I wanted to work with people and help them. It’s in my nature and mindset to focus on people. While working as a CNA in a nursing home, I met a couple of nurses who enjoyed what they were doing; they inspired me to pursue a career in nursing myself. 

How long have you been a nurse?

I’ve been a nurse for 15 years; after getting my LPN I stayed at the nursing home another two years before moving on to the Skin Institute. I’ve worked there for the last 13 years. 

What is most rewarding about your job?

Knowing that every day you can make a difference, whether just smiling at a patient or being there when they need to talk. We do surgeries and procedures in our clinic, and I like to make patients feel comfortable and safe. Having a positive impact on somebody’s life is wonderful. 

What do you find most challenging?

Nursing is a fast-paced, pretty demanding job all around. But there are so many rewards that come with it. Even the challenges are opportunities; sometimes there is something new I’ve never seen before and we figure out as a team how to deal with it. 

What skills make a nurse exceptional?

A good nurse has to be patient, should have a caring nature, and must be able to multi-task. A strong desire to simply be there to listen to patients and help in whatever way is best for them in the long run is crucial. 

What advice would you give others thinking about becoming a nurse?

There are so many fields within nursing, you can work with all ages, from infants to elderly and everybody in between. You can also choose a setting that works for your lifestyle, whether that’s in a clinic, hospital, ER, or elsewhere. There are many different options and specialties to pick from! You’re choosing a career that will always be in demand; in this economy and these times, having that stability is great. 

If you hadn’t gone into nursing, what do you think you’d be doing?

I might have followed a path into teaching; I really like the thought of teaching elementary age kids. I also considered physical therapy, which I think I would have enjoyed as well.