For our first meeting of the spring semester, the executive board of Kent State University Student Nurses’ Association (KSU-SNA) decided on the theme “What I Love About Nursing.” Very fitting for the date of the meeting, as we met on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
The meeting included sweet treats, a themed craft project, and guest speaker, Mary Kutchin, MSN, RN, CNS, a critical care nurse and College of Nursing lecturer.
To start the meeting, Mary discussed her experience as a critical care nurse, where she started as an ICU nurse in a coronary unit. Within seven months, Mary was in charge of night shift. After this, she decided to expand her knowledge and became a critical care float nurse where she worked in the emergency department, medical and surgical ICUs, and post anesthesia care unit. Mary then became a clinical manager and worked her way up the ladder to director of nursing. Following this, Mary worked in case management and traveled internationally as a presenter for case management. Following this, Mary worked in disease management, flight nursing, quality management nursing, and education.
Mary has explored many different areas in nursing and had valuable advice to share. She advised new graduates to shadow and know the culture of the unit; pick a good manager; use mentors; be the person people want to work with; speak up if you do not like something; think things through before acting; treat people well; speak up for patients; and understand the patient perspective.
Mary also expressed that she loves talking to patients and making them better through the huge impact, we, as nurses, have in their plans of care. We were so grateful Mary shared her wisdom and advice with us!
After Mary shared her valuable information with the group, we invited SNA members to take part in our themed craft project. Each member was encouraged to make his or her own paper heart displaying what he or she loves about nursing. One heart included, “I love how in nursing, you can express your care mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.” Another included, “One thing I love about nursing is being able to explore so many opportunities with one degree.” Each heart was posted to a banner, and put on display in Henderson hall to share the love of nursing around other students and staff.
The idea of appreciating nursing as a student is very important to me. Although I am not a RN yet, I have found many ways to appreciate my future profession. Through my experiences within the College of Nursing and Southwest General, I have grown and learned more than I ever imagined I would when I started nursing school. I love nursing because I have the ability to put a smile on patients’ faces despite the fact that they are having the most miserable time of their lives in the hospital. Behind all the medication passes, assessments, charting, and phone calls, there are moments of true caring and kindness between patients and myself. A simple action such as offering a bath to a patient who has not bathed since his admission six days ago and is afraid to ask staff; or sitting next to a cancer patient while she decides to shave her hair off after starting chemotherapy, can make uncomfortable moments more bearable. All of those actions are part of why I love nursing and being a patient advocate.
About Caitlin Flynn
Caitlin is a senior at Kent State University’s College of Nursing and will graduate in May 2018. On campus, Caitlin is the President of KSU-Student Nurses’ Association and a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Senatorial Committee for the College of Nursing. Off campus, Caitlin is a patient care assistant at Southwest General Hospital. She is passionate about encouraging fellow nursing students to get involved on campus in order to build leadership and community service.
She plans to start on a Medical-Surgical or Intensive Care Unit after passing her NCLEX. Caitlin hopes to one day become a Nurse Practitioner.