Jennifer Nycz, RN, MSN, is a nurse with a masters of science in nursing. She is currently senior director of operations at Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care of Michigan. Read on to see what insight she offers on the nursing profession in Detroit.
Q: What led you to establish a career in nursing?
A: "My desire to be a nurse came to me at a young age. My aunt Sherie was--and still is--a labor and delivery nurse and I idolized her. She is the most caring and unselfish human being I have ever known and I wanted to be just like her. I knew that my mission in life would be to help others just as she did."
Q: How did your education prepare you to respond to real situations at work?
A: "The foundation from my schooling was extremely important. Being a nurse is a very tough job and many people believe that nurses just give bed baths, take temperatures, etc. The reality of the importance of the job did not fully hit me until I was out in the workforce as a nurse. When I was a new graduate, I started out working in an I.C.U. environment dealing with life-and-death situations. It was at that point that I realized how important my education was. While I learned a lot of my critical skills on the job, my education about disease processes, pathophysiology, etc. made me a stronger clinician and helped me put all of the pieces together to help make the best clinical judgements for my patients."
Q: What skills did you learn in class that were helpful to you in your career as a nurse?
A: "The most important skill I believe I learned in school was critical thinking. This is the true ability to think through and disect a situation. It helped me to search for the deeper meaning of a symptom what could be causing it, what body system is involved, what medications would affect what part of the body and determine the correct symptom/crisis."
Q: Did you gain additional experience outside of school?
A: "During nursing school, I did my clinical rotations and also volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor. I found these experiences to be very rewarding as they gave me perspective on what I would face when I was done with school and entered the real world of nursing."
Q: Did that help enhance your education?
A: "Absolutely! When doing clinical rotations, it is then that you begin to put the theory into practice. I also found volunteering to be great. Several nurses took me under their wings and would show me things that were great learning experiences--such as an odd wound, putting in a catheter, etc."
Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in nursing?
A: "The sky is the limit with what you can do as a nurse. Since becoming a nurse, I have held many different roles. I spent many years in the Henry Ford Health System in the beginning of my career. During my time with Henry Ford Health System, I was a nurse in the I.C.U., a nurse supervisor, a nurse manager of a C.C.U., director of medical surgical nursing and currently a senior director of clinical operations for Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care. It wasn't until I had been in the field for a few years that I realized in a leadership role is where I belonged. I knew that I was often being told what I needed to do in terms of charting, new processes, etc. However, the rationale of why we were to do things was never explained. I felt I could be an advocate for nurses and the patients we serve. I went into a leadership role so that I could help bring the front-line staff to the decision-making table. After all, it is those nurses that truly understand the processes that they are asked to do."
After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.
for more features.