YON 2020 Day 338: Kristen Smith, Nursing Student and Patient Care Tech

Working at Firelands Regional Medical Center as a Patient Care Tech while attending the nursing program at Lorain County Community College keeps Kristen Smith busy. She explains how she decided to study nursing, and the incident that reinforced that decision.

As a child growing up I had always wanted to reach out and help others in need. Throughout elementary school I had respiratory issues and was in and out of the doctor’s office often. The nurses that took care of me in those times inspired me to become a nurse myself. I loved their positive attitudes and caring words when I was ill.

Fast-forward about ten years--I began my nursing career on a Med-Surg/ Pediatric unit as a nurse’s aide and starting nursing school. This has been my life for the past two years. Lots of studying, lots of learning, and lots of trial and error.

There were many times while I was an aide when I questioned, “Am I sure this is what I want to do? I am only nineteen, I can always change my mind.” At points, some days at the hospital seemed never ending; however, one incident changed those thoughts for good.

I was working on another unit when suddenly a Code Blue was called overhead in the ED. The nurse I was working with was on the Code Team had asked me if I wanted to come with her to help do compressions. We went to the ED and waited for EMS to arrive with our patient. I assisted with compressions and was able to observe all the different roles during a code.

Unfortunately, our patient did not make it..

I grew up with a family tradition called “Loved Pennies”. The tradition says that if you see a penny on the ground, the first person you think of that has passed away is the person that placed it there. It means you are headed in the right direction on your life path.

When I was leaving work that night after the Code, I found a penny on the ground. Normally when I see a penny, I think of my grandfather or grandmother. However this time, I thought of my patient during the code. I took this as a sign that I was choosing the right career because this was definitely something out of the ordinary for me. At that point in my career, I desperately needed a sign that I was choosing the correct path.

Nursing is such a diverse career and has limitless options and opportunities. I have learned so much since that day, and continue to remind myself that I am going to be a nurse that my younger self would adore. I continue to spread positivity to my patients and co-workers and maintain a happy attitude towards everything I do for my patients. I look forward to using all the knowledge and skills nursing school has taught me to give my future patients quality and exceptional care.

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