Jazmine Albritton – Oncology and Medical-Surgical Nurse (RN)

Jazmine+Albritton+-+Oncology+and+Medical-Surgical+Nurse+%28RN%29

INTERESTED IN NURSING?

As one of the fastest-growing jobs in the health industry, Nursing offers many aspiring medical students with a wide range of opportunities to excel in their desired careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nursing will grow 16% by the year 2024, which is a higher projected growth rate than the average occupation. Nurses work with other healthcare providers to oversee the treatment of their patients and help to promote steps to maintain one’s health. Nurses will work individually with their patients to ensure they are receiving the proper care for their illness. On average, registered nurses make around $75,000 and it can vary depending on their length of study.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE INTERVIEW

❖ When going into nursing, make sure to have compassion and love for people.

❖ Though nursing can be a tolling job due to the emotional and physical demands of this job, it can be extremely fulfilling to those with passion.

INTERVIEW

Would you like to introduce yourself and your line of work, and if you specialize in anything?

I’m Jazmine Albritton. I’m a nurse. I work both in Moffit and in Sarasota Memorial Hospital. I specialize in oncology but I also do medical-surgical.

When and why did you decide to be a nurse?

In my junior year of high school, I was already thinking of where to go to college and what area I wanted to go into. My main goal was actually to do mission work overseas. But in the meantime, I know I wanted to experience college. So, I thought to myself, “What are the strong suits that can land me a job while I wait to go into missions? What are my interests? What am I good at? What do people compliment me on? What classes in school do I enjoy?” The answer to that for me was math and science. I was also really interested in Anatomy so I liked learning how the human body works. Then, that automatically puts me in the healthcare field. I narrowed down my options from there.

Moreover, I really had a passion for people. I loved helping people, communicating with people, and being around people. I was just really drawn to nursing. With the option of being a doctor, I know I didn’t want to be one because that would take too long of schooling and I didn’t prefer the role they played in hospitals. Nurses are more bed-side; they interact and

develop a connection with the patients, compared to doctors who come in-and-out very quickly. So, I was really solidifying to go into nursing by senior year.

Another major factor of it too is the job security of a Nurse.

What drew your attention to becoming a Nurse? Who/what was your biggest inspiration?

When I visited my cousin, who is a nurse and whose wife is also a nurse, in Texas, I liked their lifestyle as I learned that nurses can work 12-hour shifts for 3 days a week, especially in hospitals.

What college did you go to?

I went to Hillsborough Community for 2 years then transferred to the University of South Florida (USF) to learn for another 2 years. After looking up colleges in- and out-of-state, what drew me to USF was their accreditation program for nursing, which is high up in terms of nursing schools in Florida.

Diving deeper into your college experience, how did you decide on oncology as your specialization?

In nursing school, you do rotations, where you are assigned to a different unit per semester. I was able to experience different things, like the NICU [Newborn Intensive Care Unit] and Pediatrics, which I actually enjoyed.

I knew I did not want to see any bones out-of-place, so the ER wasn’t the place for me. I didn’t want to go into the OR, because that’s when people are open.

But in my last rotation, in the last semester of nursing school, I happened to be placed in the Oncology Unit, where I grew to love it. I was drawn to the big emotional aspect, as you can imagine. It’s just not about giving the medicines or doing procedures for them. It’s really a lot about the emotional health of the patients too. In Oncology, specifically in nursing, you’re with the patients more, since they’re there for treatment for so long, sometimes we may have the same patient for up to a year, so you’re able to really build those relationships, which is what I liked about Oncology.

How long did it take to become a nurse?

It took me 4 years in total to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree after spending 2 years in HCC to earn my prerequisites and 2 years in USF to earn my degree. At HCC, I took the Honors Program there, which is extremely beneficial to help you have a greater chance of getting into USF since HCC has a bridge program with USF. The Honor Institute at HCC offered a lot of scholarships and allowed me to get a full-ride there, basically paying me to go

to school. Then, I transferred to USF where I got my nursing degree after 2 years.

For anyone looking to go into the medical field, what advice or suggestions do you have?

1) Accreditation. There are a lot of nursing programs out there, but not all of them are accredited, so taking those would make it harder to earn the number of credits needed. Your time can be wasted because if it’s not accredited, you may not be able to transfer to the program that you want.

2) Being diligent in completing prerequisites for the program you want to go into. You really have to make sure that you talk with your guidance counselors in college and plan ahead what classes you’re going to take for the future semesters. That way, you’re not lacking any classes that are needed to graduate, especially since those two years may fly by. Then, make sure to let your guidance counselor know since they are the one who sends that information to the university.

3) Have love for people. If you’re not a people person, it’s probably not the best place for you. Also, a big thing in the medical field, I think a lot of people focus on job security and money; but personally, for me, it’s important to enjoy the emotional aspect of nursing.

4) Be a learning person when it comes to the medical field because it’s innovative and it’s always developing. You have to learn new things constantly to stay on top of the latest findings for your practice.

But, regardless of any career path, do it for yourself. If you’re being forced to go into the medical field and you don’t do all the gory things or you don’t like people, you’re going to be miserable. Figure out your passion.

What is the difference between the coursework in high school and that in college?

It is much more independent in college. College doesn’t care if you did your homework or not; they’re not going to baby you, so you really have to be self-driven. You need to set aside your time to do the work, which requires discipline. Since you’re paying for the classes, professors don’t mind having you retake the class. Also, you have a lot more time and freedom in your schedule in college, compared to the structured schedule in high school. Given that, time-management is important in order to use that extra time to your advantage.

Describe your word in 5 words.

Compassion, attentiveness, relationships, growth, and challenging.

What does a typical work schedule look like for you?

I used to do night shifts earlier in 2019, which was painful as a person who is not a night-person. I did 12-hour shifts, in which I slept from 9 am to 5 pm and worked from 7 pm to 7 am. It is important to stay on that schedule for a while to help your body adjust. But now, I do 3 days out of the week with 12-hour shifts. In nursing, you get to choose the time and days you want to work in the week and the unit tries to accommodate that the best they can.

What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?

I think nurses get abused in some sense. Not abused in the typical definition, but rather, physically and emotionally abused in the fact that we work on our feet for 12 hours and we deal with patients that are going through a lot. Sometimes, patients would get cranky towards the staff as a way to cope with their difficulties. So, as a nurse, we can’t take things personally in those cases because we need to understand that these people are going through a different walk of life than us. On the other hand, I can get so emotionally invested with our patients that I may experience the same emotions.

Another challenge is the need to keep that balance between being able to have the compassion to care for your patient but also have the strength to let them go if they do pass away. We have to cope with death by making light of the situation in order to avoid it from stopping you from continuing your job.

How do you deal with these challenges?

Making sure to have healthy coping mechanisms, whether it be doing yoga when you get home. Also, make sure that you have time for yourself and self-awareness outside of work so that you’re able to get back and take care of the people.

What do you find rewarding about this job?

When you’re able to go through those challenges, it is the most rewarding to overcome them. Additionally, I feel rewarded through the small things, like a simple “thank you”. But, the fact that you’re caring for people and making a difference in someone’s life in just 12 hours, which can be crazy.

What are some characteristics you feel are needed for this job?

I feel that you really have to be compassionate, relatable, and have a mixture of sympathy and empathy. Communication also plays a large role since you have to be able to collaborate with others efficiently. Another important thing is to be selfless because, at the end of the day, nothing you did in that twelve-hour shift was for yourself.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your normal routine?

Normally nurses have very good hygiene since the risk of cross-contamination isn’t anything new to us. However, because COVID-19 makes people very ill, keeping up with their treatments can be more physically exhausting. On top of this, the shortage of protective gear increases our fear of not being able to help those around us if we get sick ourselves. Job security is an issue as well because there has been a decrease in non-COVID related patients which costs the hospital a lot of money and leads to units shutting down.

Knowing what you know now about nursing, is there anything you would do differently?

I recommend researching different job possibilities in the medical field, it goes so much further than just doctors and nurses. You have different therapists and even hospital management, and as much as I love nursing, I might’ve gone into another area of the hospital.