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Nursing school has played a huge role in starting my nursing career on my journey to becoming a nurse leader.
While living in Idaho, I was studying to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). During school, I also worked internships at different hospitals. The hands-on applications in hospitals made concepts, procedures, and general knowledge easy to absorb.
My first student nurse internship was at a well-known and large hospital in Texas. I was placed in the medical-surgical nursing and psych units for six weeks each. I learned how to handle busy workdays with didactic training and a helpful skills checklist. I worked with various doctors and nurses, receiving informal education and a wealth of knowledge from them.
My second internship was in a small rural hospital in Sun Valley, Idaho. Unlike my previous internship, this hospital was significantly smaller. There, I worked in the Labor and Delivery, PACU, and MedSurg departments. I also formally trained in management and business, which later helped me with career advancement.
Coupled with the internships and BSN I received, I landed my first job in Texas as a Clinical Nurse. From there, I pursued a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which helped propel my career forward from being a Clinical Nurse to a Director.
From Mentee to Mentor as a Nurse Leader
In my leadership roles, moving from mentee to mentor has been fulfilling, teaching best practices, career navigation, and crisis management. Most of my education roles in the hospital were Charge Nurse development programs, including journal clubs. Journal clubs are wonderful ways to explore trends in healthcare, challenges, and best practices from other facilities and with peers to consider implementation.
In a previous role, I enjoyed a gratifying opportunity to mentor an Assistant Nurse Manager to create Charge Nurse education, including training and tip sheets. Being a mentor empowered me to continue sharing my healthcare knowledge with new nurses.
In addition to being a mentor, I was able to create more teaching positions. As a Director, I started a Night Shift educator position because of a capstone project I completed during my MSN education. As I like to tell many new nurses, education is pivotal to nursing development and best practices. Because formal and informal education is so essential, nurses should always be open to continuous learning.
Today, I am a Clinical Manager at a travel nursing agency, Advantis Medical Staffing. It has been fun to train new recruiters on healthcare, interview nurses, and get involved with improving workflows. In addition, being able to share my 20+ years of knowledge in healthcare with thousands of nurses has been very rewarding. I love seeing healthcare, particularly nursing, through the eyes of recruiters!
Without pursuing my BSN and MSN, which led to multiple career opportunities, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Martha Paulson, MSN, RN, CEPN, is an experienced nurse leader with extensive clinical experience in critical care, cardiovascular, and acute care. She has worked for 20 years throughout the largest healthcare systems in Denver, Colorado. Recently relocated to beautiful Plano, Texas, her strengths include nursing program strategy and design, crisis management, team, and individual development, mentorship, and raising the bar on service excellence.