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Career Story: Staff Nurse At A College Health Center

Staff Nurse At A College Health Center

Job Title: Registered Nurse

Type of Company: I work for a four-year private college.

Education: AAS, Mohawk Valley Community College •• (Utica, NY) •• BS, Nursing, University of Rochester

Previous Experience: I worked for more than two decades as a nurse and cardiac catheterization specialist.

Job Tasks: I now work as a staff nurse in the student health center at a college. My job is to triage students and refer them for treatment to one of the health care providers on site or to the emergency room if those providers are unavailable.

A typical day consists of students arriving for scheduled appointments every 15 minutes. I assess them, take vital signs and a pertinent history and show them in to see the provider. After they have seen a practitioner I am responsible for treating them according to his directions: giving them antibiotics, referring them for x-rays, drawing blood and arranging transportation to the emergency room if necessary. The last few hours of my shift are spent reviewing charts to make sure all necessary treatment has been completed, and getting charts ready for the next day. I also answer the phone and triage walk-in students as necessary. Sometimes I can advise them what to do until they can get an appointment. Sometimes I need to call a practitioner to see what he or she recommends. Sometimes, too, I'm forced to refer them directly to the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center if their needs are especially acute.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with students. I love to watch them grow up in the 4 years they are in college. Also I have summers off because there's no one around then to treat. While this is a nice thing, I don't get paid during the summer either, so it's a mixed blessing.

The worst part of my job is the hours. I work the evening shift and it is difficult for me to be away from my family during dinner, homework, etc.

Job Tips: Get a solid (2-3 years) medical-surgical background after you finish school. It is the best thing you can do to pull together all the information you learned in school

Secondly, be kind to your patients. Always remember that they don't feel well and what they say and do is probably not what they would say and do if they were feeling fine.

Lastly, be proud of your profession. Nurses do wonderful things for people.

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