"Nursing school was the best," says Kathleen Donahue, a 37-year-old nurse in Springfield, and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing. "Everything is new and exciting. You make these great friends and everything moves so fast so you never get bored."
"Then it gets better," says Donahue, who worked in hospitals in Chicago and Palos Heights before moving downstate. "I love being a nurse, can't you tell?"
Donahue says she loves working with patients and "decompressing" with her coworkers, but her favorite thing about her profession is the ability to specialize. "Saying 'nurse' is so limiting, in some ways, because we all do different things," says Donahue. "The pediatric nurse is different from the ER nurse, who's different from the clinic nurse, who's different from the school nurse. You can call someone a nurse but if you talk to five people with five different roles, their jobs are going to be pretty different."
When it comes to job specialties, hospital nurses have many options. (Ajrimages/Dreamstime.com)
Currently, Donahue is a perioperative nurse after spending several years in the ER. "I loved working in an ER, but I needed to get a better shift after I had my babies," she says. "I'll be back to the ER, eventually, after my kids get a little older."
For Donahue and many nurses like her, the key to the job is the setting. "I love working in a hospital," she says. "It's just a quicker pace. It makes the day move and you always have something new."
Ross Solti agrees. The 46-year-old RN has been working in hospitals since he became a nurse in 2000. "I was a paramedic in Chicago for several years, and I used to love the interaction with the docs and nurses at the hospital," he says. "It felt like we were part of the hand-off team, which was great, but I wanted to be part of the other team. I wanted to be on the other end."
Solti moved to Columbus, Ohio, to attend the College of Nursing at Ohio State University and eventually settled outside Philadelphia, where he works as a third-shift critical care nurse. "I love it because you're always in on the action," he says. "It can be physically rough and emotionally draining, but it's worth it."
Listed below are just a few of various nurses who work in a hospital setting:
--Circulator nurses handle matters outside of the sterilized area. They're responsible for managing the nursing care of the patient within the operating room and coordinating the needs of the surgical team with other care providers. Circulator nurses also assess the patient's condition before, during and after surgery.
--Critical care nurses work in a hospital setting or other locations that house critically ill patients. In hospitals, you'll find them in intensive care units, pediatric ICUs, neonatal ICUs, cardiac care units, cardiac catheter labs, telemetry units, progressive care units, emergency departments and recovery rooms, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
--Emergency room nurses treat patients who are experiencing trauma or injury by recognizing and addressing life-threatening issues. ER nurses are trained to help solve problems quickly.
--Instrument nurses are perioperative nurses who work with surgeons within the sterile field. In addition to sterile draping, surgical preparation, irrigation, retraction, suctioning and managing the sterile equipment, instrument nurses are constantly assessing the surgeon's potential needs during a procedure.
--Perianesthesia nurses handle recovery for patients who awake from anesthesia. Perianesthesia nurses work in an intense environment, monitoring patients for nausea and disorientation.
--Perioperative nurses work in collaboration with surgeons, circulating nurses, anesthetists and surgical assistants.
By Marco Buscaglia, Tribune Content Agency
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