Why did you choose a career in healthcare?
“I really liked the nurse that was at the doctor’s office that my brother and I went to growing up. She was friendly and always so happy to see us. As an added bonus we always got suckers too… She was the reason when I turned 16 that I wanted to learn what nurses actually did so I volunteered at Kalispell Regional. I learned how compassionate nurses can be and they were so willing to help me learn. I also think I got a taste for pediatric nursing because one of my main jobs as a volunteer was holding babies.”
What significant changes have you seen at CMC over the years?
“So much has changed it’s hard to know where to start. First change to mention would me converting from paper charting to EMR. WOW. Enough said… I also have seen medication administration change. When I started we had one rolling pyxis machine and one med nurse who would take the cart up and down the hallways and administer medications, then start over again and that was the whole shift for that nurse. Each patient had their own drawer in the pyxis cart and it took FOREVER for pharmacy and nursing to agree on the MAR. Nurses also would mix their own IVPB, we didn’t have any vented rooms or hoods or any of the safety things we have now. The days were shorter, only 8 hr shifts. We were proud as nurses to wear our hats, even though they would fall off because of the fast-paced work. Medical technology has advanced so much- A tool like the pulse ox was so advanced only an RT would check it for you when it first came out. I would say it was an improvement from just looking at the patient and guessing if they were OK, we DID know that a blue/grey patient wasn’t doing so well, though.”
Is there someone at CMC that has been important to your career development?
“Mary Cruz was one of my first supervisors and my mentor. She always made us use medical terminology. Mostly because she hated when people would say “poop.” She knew we could be better and pushed us to be so. She also taught time management (something all nurses need to learn) and how to prioritize. Kathy Hayden has also been an incredible peer to me. She is a friend, teammate, and one heck of a nurse. Together we have succeeded, failed and grieved tough loss. She has taught me how to be a good teammate, and with our long history of working together we have an unspoken language and are able to take care of each other as we care for our patients. There is always a sense of mutual support and respect that keeps me coming to work each day and makes my job fun.”
What do you love most about working at CMC?
“CMC is a family. People here are more than just coworkers. We support each other through thick and thin, and not just with work but also in life. There is a strong sense of teamwork within all aspects of CMC personnel no matter their role. We are all caregivers and here for the same reasons which is to take care of those who need us. The WE CARE values are truly evident here, especially the “excellence” which makes me proud to have worked here for 40 years.”