I knew from the time I was in high school that I wanted to be a nurse., When I graduated from nursing school, I couldn’t wait to begin my career. I worked at a large metropolitan hospital on a renal unit. The patients I cared for often had several comorbidities: diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, as well as renal failure. While it was a great experience that helped develop my nursing and critical thinking skills, I didn’t truly love it. It just felt like a job, and I questioned my decision to become a nurse. It was disheartening to think that what I had wanted to do for most of my life may not have been the right choice.
After about a year, the hospital I worked at realized they had a significant shortage of OR nurses and started an “extern program” to train floor nurses to become OR nurses. I knew very little about OR nursing but was excited at the idea, so I applied. After interviewing with the OR Director, I was offered a position. That’s when it happened; that’s when I found my passion for nursing. I loved the atmosphere and the fast-paced, often intense cases. I loved the teamwork and communication that’s required to keep patients safe. I loved the focus on one patient at a time. I even loved the quirky and sometimes difficult personalities. Working in the OR changed my feelings of nursing from “just my job” to “nursing is my career.” To this day, I love the OR and everything I learned in that experience.
Over the years, I worked in a variety of OR settings and in a variety of roles. Eventually, I transitioned into more informatics-focused positions, and moved into the perioperative IT vendor world. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to help hospitals utilize analytics solutions to achieve their clinical and business goals. I feel fortunate to work with a variety of hospitals around the country, and still be connected to the OR. Looking back over my time as a nurse, I would never have thought I’d be where I am today, continuing to grow and develop in my career, and still so happy to be part of the nursing profession.
Find out more about Andi and her experience in perioperative nursing as she presents, “Cracking the Code on Improving Block Utilization” at the 2017 OR Today Live conference being held August 27-29 in Washington, D.C.