I thought I was gonna be an elementary education teacher, and that was my first major, but then I switched to nursing. My brother was in and out of the hospital a lot in his life, and I watched a lot of what the nurses did, and I thought they were really amazing. My first job after nursing school at the College of Southern Maryland was at Southern Maryland Hospital on the tele (telemetry) floor. We did a little bit of everything on that floor, and you saw a wide range of people. I learned so much working on that floor, and I also had a great group of girls that were my co-workers.
We still meet up once a year for dinner to catch up. We all work in different areas and different places now, but it is so amazing to be able to keep in contact with all of them. I went from working on the tele floor at Southern Maryland Hospital to the second floor of Calvert Memorial, where I worked a lot with cardiac patients and med-surge (medical surgical nurse). I really loved the staff that I worked with on the second floor, but there was also a part of me that wanted to be on the third floor because it had kids. I really do like being around kids, which is why I thought I wanted to be a teacher.
I really wanted to get more into pediatric nursing, so I started Googling Calvert pediatric nursing jobs, and a school nurse position popped up. I interviewed for a full-time position, but when I didn’t get it, I started subbing as a school nurse at different schools. Then one day, another school nurse position became open at Sunderland Elementary, and I got that job and worked there for six years. It was a great job, and I loved being with the kids. It was also a great school, with great staff, and my kids also were going there when I worked there.
When my daughter entered kindergarten, she came to school with me. That was pretty cool. I stayed at the hospital at this time, and I did one weekend a month. So sometimes I would work 12 days in a row; five days at school, Sat/Sunday at the hospital, and then another five at school. I moved on from the hospital to work at Urgent Care. I didn’t really know much about it when I started, but the one weekend-a-month appealed to me because I could keep working at the school. So that’s what I did for four years. The cool thing was that I would see my students from school during the day at the urgent care later on. They were always so amazed when they saw me because I think they believed I lived at the school!
So whenever they saw me outside the school, they would say, “Nurse Sara, what are you doing here?” It was really sweet.
I currently work at Anne Arundel Hospital in their ER. I started working there in January 2020. I was there for three months when COVID hit. It was very uncharted territory for us. They started off giving us equipment to protect ourselves, but not a whole lot, in the beginning, just a surgical mask. As the virus started getting worse, they started giving us N95 masks, but the supplies were limited, and they didn’t know how long the virus would last. So our masks were reused after they would sterilize them. Patients were getting scared at this time, and by summer, they weren’t coming to the ER if they were hurt or sick unless they came on an ambulance because they were afraid of getting COVID from a patient at the hospital.
We see COVID patients coming in still, but thankfully, they are not as sick anymore as when this first started. It was really sad. We are still seeing people that are dying young from COVID, but it still feels like there is a light now at the end of the tunnel. I have been so thankful for the patients who say, ‘I don’t know how you do it, but thank you!’ That always feels really great. I love helping people, and talking to patients, and explaining things to help them understand what is going on. What I love most about my job is being at the bedside and spending 1:1 time with my patients.