I had done a rotation in nursing school and loved it. I was fortunate where I started work in a different state, I called that manager of the NICU and asked for a chance, knowing it was what I wanted to do with my career. My manager at the time allowed me that opportunity, and 26 years later, I’m still in the same field. I went to school at Northern Michigan University and I’ve lived in numerous states around the country. I came back to the U.P. in 2000, and I’ve been in the NICU unit since.
What was your motivating factor to pursue healthcare?
I think I just had that drive to help people. I didn’t recognize it until I was in college; I tried a couple of other majors first and ended up in nursing by default. I really love science and math; the human body is fascinating to me, so it just made sense. I’m lucky to have hit the nail on the head as far as what fits for me and who I am.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I work day shifts and I’m full-time, and with a new baby at home, I’m up early. A typical day depends on my assignment when I get here. It can be varied, but what’s always a given is constantly needing to be on your toes as far as the critical care portion of what we do. Small doses of medication, double-checking, and having a strong bond with my coworkers because we all rely on each other for the second set of eyes and ears. And always a given is being able to work with families, not just the babies – but the moms and dads too. It’s a holistic family approach and not just taking care of the baby.
How would you describe what it’s like to work with babies in delicate situations?
I love it. I thrive on adrenaline, so it sharpens me. It makes me pay attention better, and it’s really what I love. The other side of it is taking care of families and being very gentle and very nurturing, so it’s a wide range. I’m the type of person who is up for a challenge.You need to have a critical-care mind, be able to think, and make decisions quickly. You have to be able to roll with the punches, and sometimes I feel like a mom to some of the moms or even the babies. That’s where the nurturing and compassionate role comes into nursing, but it’s the critical care aspect that I think is the key to be successful here.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I have eight children, and I love spending time with my family. I love spending time outside, gardening, and cutting grass. My family is at the top of the list.
What is your favorite part about working at UPHS-Marquette?
The Marquette area is my home. UPHS – Marquette has the only NICU in the UP, so fortunately for me, I don’t know where I’d be or what I would be doing. This has allowed me to have not only a job but also a passion for what I do.