At a recent Career Services event at West Coast University-Orange County, BSN graduate Erica Suzanne Martinez took a few minutes to answer some questions about her new job, her continuing online education and what she would tell students attending WCU.
Where are you working now?
I work on a cardiac unit for advanced heart failure so we specialize in heart transplants. At Cedars-Sinai alone this year we did 132 [heart transplants] so we've set the record for heart transplants in the country and internationally as well. Our hospital is one of the best in LA and our unit is one of the best in the country for hearts.
What's the best part of your job?
Every day is a challenge for you but it's also really enjoyable as well. There's pros and cons to everything but for the most part, I love that I get to come on shift every day and I get to make a difference in somebody's life. For me that is the biggest thing I can do, just put a smile on that patient's face.
How is the online MHA program?
I was out of school for six months. I started in March so right now I'm eight months in and I knew that you guys have that alumni incentive, so I took advantage of that. I just really want to keep going and I have that drive like when you finish nursing school, you're still like go, go, go, go, so I just ran with that.
What advice do you have for BSN students?
Every class that you take, just keep going. You're almost there. Take it one day at a time, take it one step at a time. You're gonna make it. You will make it. You may feel like right now like you're not gonna make it, you're not going to make it to tomorrow. You might feel like you're going to throw up before the test, you might freak out. Freak out. It's fine. You're still gonna do OK. You worked hard for this, you studied, you put in what you needed to know -- just keep going.
Why did you become a nurse?
I always wanted to help people. It was something that I've always felt passionate about, that whole caring for others always came easy for me. It was never something that I really had to work at. It's something that I've always enjoyed and I think now actually doing it, it's so rewarding. Yes, there's days where my shifts are extremely difficult but there's days as well where you get that 'thank you' from a patient and it makes the last 12 hours of whatever it is that you dealt with so worth it. I really love my job.