Amy Zausch, R.N., M.S.N. (CNII Emergency Department)
Making connections with others is what life is about, and that is what I like most about being a nurse. Twelve hours is a long work day, but it also provides me ample opportunities to find a way to connect with the patients l care for. As an ER nurse, I enjoy being the first nurse that many of my patients see and setting the tone for their hospital stay or leaving a positive impression with them when they are discharged. I enjoy their stories – I remember caring for an older couple involved in a car accident where the wife sadly did not make it. The husband shared stories of her throughout my shift-she had actually been an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor. Another patient I cared for came to the ER intoxicated and was homeless. He was a Vietnam War veteran, and as he sobered up later in the shift, he shared some of his war stories with me.
The great thing about UC Davis is there are endless opportunities and support for your career goals - you just need to seek them out. Attaining higher education is highly valued. I was financially supported when obtaining my BSN and MSN, and my manager gave me time off without question. I've collaborated on research with ER physicians and with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. After recently joining the Research Council, I was excited to have so much enthusiasm and support from my colleagues-floor nurses and managers alike- in starting an online journal club to encourage UC Davis nurses to participate in evidence-based practice. Working for UC Davis, a teaching hospital, provides you with the encouragement and assistance to pursue your interest -be it research, professional development, or even a reimbursed trip to a conference.
Sometimes it takes a life experience to realize what your true passion in nursing is. For me, it was having a baby. Now, after 10 years of nursing in trauma and ER, I'm switching to Labor and Delivery. Having a child has sparked my desire to support women with the labor process and breastfeeding. Nursing is the only profession I know of that allows you to change specialties mid-career. lf a physician tried to do that, he/she would have to go through several more years of training. I am so thankful that I chose to work for a hospital that values my contributions and has been extremely supportive of all my endeavors.