Q&A on Nursing Careers with Linda Khalil, RN
Welcome to eLearner’s spotlight on nursing, where we discuss the rewards and challenges of this in-demand occupation with real workers in the field. Learn more about the field of nursing and nursing careers.
The next interview in our series is with Linda Khalil, RN. She studied at St. Claire College and is currently working as an Administrative Registered Nurse in the orthopedic unit at St. Peter’s Hospital in New Jersey.
Linda has been working in nursing for the last 14 years. Her many certifications include medical/surgical, orthopedic, critical care, EKG, CPR and first aid. Some of Linda’s responsibilities on a daily basis include assessing patients, administering medications, caring for patients before and after surgery, educating patients and their families and monitoring blood work and vitals.
Linda first became interested in nursing careers when she was around 10 years old and she tried to save a chicken that drowned on her grandmother’s farm. Watching how nurturing the nurses that treated her uncle, who had terminal brain cancer, also spurred her into this career.
elearners: What was the most challenging part of obtaining your nursing degree?
I think the most challenging part for me was fitting in my studies with working part-time as a waitress. Dealing with a lot of death was also very tough in the beginning – it actually made me question whether I should drop out.
elearners: What part of your nursing education most prepared you for what you deal with on a day to day basis?
The hands on experience that you get while doing clinical work is really important. So too, is the knowledge of biology, medical terms, human bodily functions, symptoms and care plans that you gain during your studies. I’d say the main thing that school can’t totally prepare you for is learning how to deal with doctors, difficult patients and family members.
elearners: What are some of the biggest challenges that a nurse deals with?
One of the biggest challenges has got to be maintaining patience when dealing with difficult patients. It can be really difficult to multi-task and keep up with my priorities on days when patients are being demanding. With such a large workload, it can be also be tough when you don’t have the time you’d like to speak with and comfort patients.
elearners: What is the most rewarding part of being a nurse?
The most rewarding aspect of nursing for me is being able to help other people. It also pays well – I can work two days a week and make what other people may earn in five days. The flexibility is also great because I have children.
elearners: Technology in the fields of science and medicine is ever-changing. How do you stay current?
I try to stay current by completing continuing education credits online and by reading up on new technologies in nursing magazines. The hospital also tests my skills and knowledge twice a year in labs.
eLearners: You may not be aware that nurses themselves have historically been industry innovators when it comes to developing new technologies. For example, in the early 1950s, nurse and physical therapist Bessie Blount invented an electronic devise that helped allow amputees to eat without aid. In the 1960s, an ER nurse named Anita Dorr saw a need to decrease the length of time it took to gather medical supplies and helped create a prototype for a wheeled crisis cart that evolved in the present-day crash cart.
In order to help reduce patient anxiety and prevent the need for re-insertions, Betty Rozier and Lisa Vallino (a mother and daughter team) designed and patented an I.V. house site protector in 1993, which is now used worldwide. Of similar note, two sisters (and RNs) Terri Barton-Salinas, and Gail Barton-Hay assisted with the product development of ColorSafe IV lines to provide a clear color-coded system for IV bags to help prevent human error.
These are just some of the many examples of the way nurses consistently working to help improve treatments and – ultimately – the quality of medical care.
elearners: For individuals hoping to have a career in nursing what are some important things to consider?
As I mentioned before, patience is key. You also are going to have to be able to tolerate dealing with blood and other not-so-pleasant fluids on a regular basis. Something people may not consider is that you need to be able to commit to working weekends and holidays, while other people are off.
elearners: For anyone wishing to make a career change, are there any professions that you think might transition more easily than others into nursing?
I think that the most obvious fit would be for someone who is already a health care aid. That’s not to say that you need to have a background in healthcare to become a nurse. But it doesn’t hurt.
elearners: Do you have any parting words of wisdom or advice for aspiring nursing professionals?
If you love taking care of people and are truly a nurturing person, I’d say listen to your heart and go for it! It’s a challenging, but extremely rewarding profession.
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