Christi Alvey graduated from Nightingale College in December 2014 and works at Mckay-Dee Hospital in the NICU. She is another Nightingale graduate who was willing to offer some advice and shed some light on her specific nursing duties.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
Other nurses that I worked with when I first returned to the work force.
What type of nurse did you want to be? Why?
Critical care. I’ve always loved the challenge of critical care and the complexity of the situations. And, I get bored easily.
Looking back, what do you wish you knew before starting nursing school?
How hard it is!! It consumes your life. Hesi’s matter, they really do help with the NCLEX. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!! And nursing school will end.
Besides learning the needed skills and knowledge to be a nurse, what are some things you took away with you after graduation?
The ability to adapt. Things are not always going to go as planned, things change, schedules change, people change…and it’s OK!! You will be just fine, learn to roll with it. Once you learn this, life’s a whole lot easier.
What is something you have found was absolutely necessary to know for learners desiring to be a nurse?
Sterile technique. Learn it, love it, and never break it!!
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
We do care times 3 to 4 hours depending on the infant’s needs (feeding, changing diapers, repositioning). We do IV and oral medications. I do a lot of teaching to the parents to encourage them and empower them to participate in their infant’s care. There are many times where I have to suspend my personal feelings and judgment when dealing with difficult situations such as neonatal drug addiction. Never ending charting and documentation, and a whole bunch of baby love.
What do you love most about your job? Do you have any experiences you would like to share?
I love seeing an infant that I have had a hand in caring for get to go home. I love running into the NICU graduates in the community!! Seeing them having fun and living life is great.
For those interested in pursuing a career in the same field, what advice/guidance would you give them?
The NICU is a hard/stressful/emotionally draining/amazing place to be! You have to have the compassion to deal with really emotional parents (sometimes angry), the confidence to stand up for your patient’s best interests even when it’s hard, and the competence to back it up. My advice for any position in the nursing field would be to find something that you love and are passionate about, work hard to get the skills you need for it, be willing to be the “go-to” person, and never forget to take care of yourself.
What has been your most memorable experience during your nursing journey?
My most memorable experience as of yet was when I was approached while eating dinner with my husband by a family that was in our NICU and having the father tell my husband that I saved his baby’s life. I’m positive that it wasn’t me at all, but it was this father’s perception, and that was pretty cool.
What has been your favorite experience about being a nurse or going through nursing school?
I loved precepting in the jail! Well worth all the hard work to do it. I also love that some of my best friends are from my job and from school. Nobody gets nurse humor like another nurse.
What would you say to someone who wanted to become a nurse?
Do it!! All the hard work and sacrifice is worth it.
What advice would you give to current nursing learners? Potential learners? Graduates?
Take advantage of every learning opportunity you can. Be the volunteer to do a procedure; pick your instructors’ brains, they are smart (once you get in there…you might be sorry though); NEVER be afraid to say you need help or have a question; know when it’s time to have fun and when to buckle down; and never wear your nursing shoes in your house… (because… EWW).
Finally, what does being a nurse mean to you?
Being a nurse means being there at the start of life and sometimes the end of it. It’s being emotionally and physically drained at the end of a shift and loving it enough to get up and do it again the next day.
“You have to have the compassion to deal with really emotional parents (sometimes angry), the confidence to stand up for your patient’s best interests even when it’s hard, and the competence to back it up.”
Christi is a mentor in the Career Connections mentorship program. To learn more about her and the mentorship program, reach out to the College’s Career Services department.
We would like to thank Christi for taking the time to share her experiences with us.