My project of becoming a patient care associate this summer gave me invaluable lessons on patient care and exposed me to working on a healthcare team for a high-risk patient population. I was hired at The James, here at Ohio State, and used my STEP money to help pay for the cost of living off campus as well as scrubs in order to help make all of this possible.
This summer helped me grow as a future nurse, as well as a student living on my own. I had the opportunity to be hired as a PCA in the float pool at the James. This means that every shift I may be on any floor in the hospital. Bouncing around from specialties like bone marrow transplant to hematology oncology, and even up to head and neck post-operative on the twenty-first floor, gave
me the chance to work and learn about so many different areas of healthcare that I would not necessarily be exposed to in nursing school. This has thoroughly helped in narrowing down my areas of intrigue as I wish to work as a nurse on a floor of interest that aligns with a specialty I would later pursue as a doctor of nursing practice. My interest in a high-risk patient population has sky-rocketed as I find myself thriving in emergency scenarios and the other fast paced day to day activities of nurses on these amazing floors.
On top of my healthcare knowledge advancement, I also learned a lot about myself and morphed into a more well-rounded version of the adult me. Living on my own for the first time gave me an immense amount of autonomy that I was fully ready to take on. Of course, nothing is ever as we imagine, so I learned a lot along the way. By the end of August I had grown substantially, and I can now balance work, play, and a healthy lifestyle with ease. Don’t get me wrong, much of this will be thrown off as I add in a full-time student schedule into the works this fall, but after my experience this summer, I don’t believe that it’s something that I cannot handle.
To expand a bit more on hospital life, I would really like to bring up the amazing relationships that have stemmed from working long days with these amazing healthcare professionals on all levels. As a float, I have been forced to find and make friends on all twenty-one floors. Lucky enough for me, my personality, as well as the stereotypical bubbly personalities of many of the nurses, makes this process easy. I have felt welcomed everywhere and am lucky enough to have worked alongside experienced nurses who are more than willing to teach and put up with my many many questions. I am incredibly grateful for the relationships that I have built with my fellow staff and the amazing teamwork that I get to be a part of.
On top of the people I work with, I work under an incredible group of experienced nurses as well. One of my managers understands many of the PCAs that work at the James are also nursing students. She has put together a Student Nurse Professional Development program and I am lucky enough to be a part of it. Our first meeting is set for October the 4th, where we are going to discuss and learn about the James care delivery model, Relationship Based Care (RBC), and our Professional Practice Model (PPM). The clinical ladder staff nurse is also coming in to speak with us about steps that James nurses are constantly taking to help provide exceptional patient care. This opportunity goes without further explanation. I am so lucky that I am exposed to and get to take part in providing this phenomenal patient care, as well as furthering my evidence based knowledge in all of these areas as noteworthy steps towards my professional development.
Overall, this project has affected my personal and professional development immensely, and fortunately enough for me, I have the opportunity to continue this work for the rest of my time as an undergraduate student. I’ve been exposed to a multitude of floors that I would not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise, and this experience has given me insight on my future plans to become a doctor of nursing practice. In order to get to this level of nursing, I have the opportunity to develop my professionalism even further through an amazing program put on by my nurse manager. On top of these occupation based goals, I am continuing to grow as an individual. I have established a budget this summer, and am continuing to maintain my mental and physical health despite a tough transition into the school year. All of these transformations would not have been possible without the STEP program, and the money that made this all a possibility.